Victory v City: 3 key match-ups

​A glorious win, a grand final spot and off-season bragging rights or a crushing, season-ending loss. That's what's at stake when Victory and City meet on Friday night in the biggest Melbourne derby in history.

We preview three eye-catching match-ups in Friday night's Semi Final at Etihad...

Victory defender Matthieu Delpierre v City’s marquee man Josh Kennedy

When looking through the Victory squad, names like Finkler, Berisha, Ben Khalfallah and Thompson jump off the page.

But the French defender has been just as important to the club’s success as their plethora of stars in their attacking arsenal.

Delpierre exudes confidence, giving Victory a solid base with his calmness and experience. 

Finals Series feature star: Matthieu Delpierre

He has a swagger about him which not only must make his team-mates grow an extra leg but also put doubts in the mind of his opposition.

Matthieu Delpierre will be pivotal for Victory in their semi-final against Melbourne City FC.

A stylish and composed centre-half, it’s no surprise Victory has come home strong since his long lay-off through injury.

It’s not just his quality and organization skills which have ensured Victory are hard to penetrate but his height also makes him a threat at set pieces.

Delpierre will need every inch of that height and big-game experience to cope with frontman Kennedy.

After a patchy start to his City career, the beanpole striker appears to be peaking at just the right time.

His goal against Phoenix in last weekend's Elimination Final showed just how good a goal-poacher Kennedy is, at the right place at the right time to divert home Aaron Mooy’s shot.

City striker Josh Kennedy fights for the ball with Victory midfielder Carl Valeri.

It proves if City can get their delivery right, the veteran Socceroo will make it count.

But does he have the nous and form to get the better of the hugely impressive Delpierre. What better place to find out than in the white-hot furnace of a derby.

Victory striker Besart Berisha v City captain Patrick Kisnorbo

Wow! If you thought ADP v Jesus Josh was big, this will be immense.

Two of the Hyundai A-League’s most combustible characters go head-to-head in a fearsome clash that will almost certainly be pivotal in which side of Melbourne comes out on top.

These two have everything a coach loves in their players at this time of the year.

Bluffer's guide to Hyundai A-League Semi Finals

While they live on the edge at times, they are ultra-competitive, brave, smart and have great quality. Quite simply they are winners.

Kisnorbo was immense as City pulled off a shock in Wellington on Sunday in the Elimination Final. 

Melbourne City skipper Patrick Kisnorbo and Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha.

He threw his body in the line of fire to block shots and through-balls.

When John van ‘t Schip needed his skipper to stand up, that’s exactly what he did.

But Berisha lives for this time of the season. A scorer of so many important finals goals with Brisbane Roar, the Albanian is desperate to deliver for his new club.

"Bes" has four goals in three appearances against City this season.

Semi-Final stats: Victory v City, Sydney FC v Reds

He will harass and pressure the City defence all night and if given a sniff in front of goal is sure to make it count.

You won’t want to take your eyes off this clash where neither player will leave anything in the tank.

Victory skipper Mark Milligan v City star Aaron Mooy

What a midfield battle this promises to be.

Mooy has had a phenomenal season. Easily his best in the Hyundai A-League.

Melbourne City midfielder Aaron Mooy celebrates his exquisite free-kick against Glory last season.

He’s the man that makes City tick, whether it be with his superb decision-making and range of passing or with a crunching tackle in the middle of the park.

Of the last 13 goals City have scored this season, Mooy has either scored or assisted eight of them. It underlines just how important the Socceroo midfielder is the City’s hopes.

He will have his hands full trying to shade Milligan though.

The Victory captain is desperate to lead his side to the title and does so by his impeccable performances on the pitch.

He is dependable, composed and works tirelessly getting up and down the pitch, often doing the dirty work that can go unnoticed.

He provides great protection to his back four which allows their attacking quartet free rein to do their thing.

There are some thrilling match-ups all over the park in this one, but none more important to the final result than this one.