Victory and Reds resume rivalry

Having built one of the Hyundai A-League's biggest rivalries over the past seven years, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United will be desperate to atone for defeats last weekend when the latest chapter plays out at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Having built one of the Hyundai A-League's biggest rivalries over the past seven years, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United will be desperate to atone for defeats last weekend when the latest chapter plays out at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

The hosts, who lost on penalties against MLS outfit LA Galaxy in an exhibition match at the same venue on Tuesday night, are coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss to Newcastle last Saturday in a game that they briefly led following Carlos Hernandez's fourth goal in three games.

That result came 24 hours after the Reds had been taken apart 4-0 by Central Coast Mariners at Hindmarsh Stadium, leaving them ninth on the ladder ahead of only Gold Coast United and with the worst goal difference in the competition, -10.

Between them the teams boast just four wins and 20 points from nine games, although one of Adelaide United's two triumphs came at the expense of their Melbourne tormentors back in week 2.

The Reds' other win came over Gold Coast United, 2-1 at home, while Victory have beaten eighth-placed Wellington Phoenix 2-1 on the road and Miron Bleiberg's men 3-2 with 10 men at home.

Intriguingly, there have only been three draws in 25 previous battles between the teams, although the Victory have dominated the head-to-head stakes with 14 wins, with Adelaide swelling their number to eight with wins in the past three games between the teams.

In fact, so one-sided had their matches been that prior to Adelaide's breakthrough 4-1 win away from home in January, Victory had actually won the previous 10 games between the teams and also gone unbeaten in 11 matches.

Three other contests stand out when looking at previous match-ups, with the 2006/07 Grand Final the most significant of them all.

A fortnight after James Robinson's last-gasp goal had booked Victory a home decider, Archie Thompson lit up Etihad Stadium with an amazing five goals in his team's 6-0 rout of the Reds.

Those two matches came in the same season that Adelaide landed a smash-and-grab 1-0 win at Etihad Stadium that was remembered far more for a clash between then Reds coach John Kosmina and former Victory captain Kevin Muscat than for the result itself.

Muscat raced towards the visitors' bench to retrieve a ball that had gone over the sideline and in his haste to do so knocked Kosmina backwards out of his chair, resulting in Kosmina jumping to his feet and grabbing Muscat by the throat.

Victory's superstar recruit Harry Kewell should be fresh after being rested from the game against the Galaxy, with Mehmet Durakovic taking the view that Saturday is far more important in the overall scheme of things.

With pressure on both clubs and their coaches Durakovic and Rini Coolen to deliver, Saturday night's game could be another cracking contest as Victory look to bounce back and Adelaide United seek to extend their three-match winning run against the hosts.