The last match before the break for the Asian Cup sees a desperate Wanderers take on a Melbourne Victory outfit reeling from a loss against Glory. Victory ran out comfortable 4-1 winners when the two sides met in Round 1 but this should be a much tighter affair in Sydney’s west.
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
Pirtek Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) (7.30pm AEDT)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Antony GOLEC, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.MATEO POLJAK, 10.Vitor SABA, 12 .Nikita RUKAVYTSYA,15.Yianni PERKATIS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS(gk), 22.Seyi ADELEKE, 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 32.Daniel ALESSI, 33.Nick KALMAR
***two to be omitted***
Ins 22.Seyi ADELEKE (promoted), 10.Vitor SABA (promoted), 5.Brendan HAMILL (promoted)
Outs 36.Michael TRAJKOVSKI (not selected)
Unavailable 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder – indefinite), 34.Golgol MEBRAHTU (knee – indefinite), 9.Tomi JURIC (international duty – 1 match), 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC (international duty – 1 match)
Melbourne Victory 1.Nathan COE (GK), 2. Jason GERIA, 4. Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (C), 7. Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 18. Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24. Scott GALLOWAY, 26. Jordan BROWN.
***two to be omitted***
Ins 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (promoted), 26. Jordan BROWN (promoted)
Outs 23. Adrian LEIJER (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable 5. Mark MILLIGAN (international duty), 15. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (ankle – 1 week), 17. Matthieu DELPIERRE (foot – 3-4 weeks),
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio – 702 ABC Sydney, 666 ABC Canberra, ABC Local Radio NSW, 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, 936 ABC Hobart & Northern Tasmania Grandstand Digital, Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee Alan Milliner
Assistant Referee 1 Mathew Cheeseman
Assistant Referee : James Tesoriero
Fourth Official Chris Young
If ever there was a much that could help wake the Wanderers from their long slumber, a clash against rivals like Melbourne Victory could inspire just that. These two sides have been involved in some epic battles over the last couple of seasons and fans at Pirtek Stadium should be treated to a real cracking contest.
The Wanderers have been uncharacteristically subdued in front of their home fans of late, losing to Brisbane Roar and then drawing 0-0 with the Mariners in their last two matches at ‘Wanderland.’ If they are like that again, then Victory certainly has the firepower to take advantage.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has recalled imports Vitor Saba and Seyi Adeleke to his squad for this clash, while defender Brendan Hamill is also back after missing the clash with Central Coast on New Year’s Day.
Hamill is likely to slot straight in at centre-back, which would allow Iacopo La Rocca to go back into his preferred midfield role. With the side struggling for goals, surely it’s time to unleash a fired-up Saba on Victory.
The visitors have a huge inclusion, with Fahid Ben Khalfallah back from suspension but defender Adrian Leijer goes out for the same reason. Leigh Broxham, who has been playing in midfield in the absence of Mark Milligan, may drop back into the back four to give it some experience alongside Nick Ansell.
OPTA DATA STATS
-WSW are the only team yet to win in the Hyundai A-League this season (L7 D4).
-Wanderers have scored the fewest home goals (2) but they have also conceded the fewest (3).
-Meanwhile, Victory have the best defensive record away from home, conceding just four goals on their travels.
-After an unbeaten opening nine games, Victory have won just one of their last four games (D1 L2).
ROUTE TO GOAL
Finding the net has been a major problem for the Wanderers, who haven’t scored for over seven hours of Hyundai A-League action. There cause won’t be helped with Tomi Juric missing on Socceroos duty while Brendon Santalab is still out injured. Nikita Rukavytsya is likely to lead the line again but he needs more from the likes of Nick Kalmar, Mark Bridge and Labinot Haliti in behind him. Victory hasn’t scored a goal in open play in their last three games, relying on the set pieces of Gui Finkler. Kosta Barbarouses hasn’t had the same impact he had at the start of the season but the return of Fahid Ben Khalfallah does give Muscat more options.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Vitor Saba. The Brazilian has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, with talk he could be on his way out of the club in the January transfer window. But with the Wanderers desperate for goals and a first win of the season, it will be interesting to see if Popovic decides to throw him in against the Victory. Saba is certainly a fan favourite and it might just be a sublime piece of skill of his which could inspire them to a win and maybe help kick-start their season.
The Wanderers long wait for a win this season continues, now 11 games without victory in the Hyundai A-League. Their 0-0 draw with Central Coast on New Year’s Day means they have drawn four of their five home games this season, while they have gone a mammoth seven hours without finding the back of the net. Victory went down 2-1 to league-leaders Perth Glory in their last outing, making it two defeats from their last three games.
DID YOU KNOW?