Get along to this belter at AAMI Park to see if Melbourne can emerge Victorious and pour more misery on the Mariners.
Get along to this belter at AAMI Park to see if Melbourne can emerge Victorious and pour more misery on the Mariners!
This time last week, it seemed that nothing would stop Central Coast Mariners' bid to win the league. They were unbeaten in 15 and unafraid of anyone. Then, last season's adversaries came to town and showed that there are still a few chinks in the leaders' armour.
Can Melbourne Victory inflict more damage on the side from New South Wales and boost their own top-six hopes? With your support, they have every chance, so get your ticket today and prepare to make some noise!
Victory will take heart from last week's derby clash with their cross-city rivals. While they would have loved to get the better of them for the first time this season, there were still plenty of positives to be taken from the draw.
Firstly, a clean sheet is always pleasing, especially for a team that has been shipping goals this season, and to hold on for a point despite being reduced to ten men after Grant Brebner was red carded showed real spirit and determination.
This Friday, many of the 26,395 that had AAMI Park rocking with noise last weekend will once again be in great voice as the Victory take on a Central Coast Mariners side that - while still odds-on favourites for the Premier's Plate - have been rattled by their first defeat in 15 games last weekend.
Taking on title rivals Brisbane Roar, the Mariners uncharacteristically froze under the pressure and found themselves two goals behind by the break. There was no way back in the second-half and the Yellow and Navy suffered defeat at Bluetongue for the first time in an age. They will need to up their game is they are to avoid a second successive loss this Friday.
This is the final meeting between the teams in the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 season. The fact that the Victory have yet to beat Central Coast Mariners this season is hardly anything to be ashamed of; few opponents have overcome them, and when they came together at Bluetongue in November, the away side held out for a very creditable goalless draw.
Indeed, the best chance of the match fell to Victory and, had captain Adrian Leijer's flick-header landed the correct side of the upright rather than flying just wide, they would have been celebrating a famous win.
The Mariners though will look to the teams' other encounter in Gosford for inspiration. It was an emotional night at the Bluetongue Stadium as departing striker Matt Simon waved goodbye in perfect fashion, with an unanswered brace.
So, if the home side are to pick up a win, they will have to do something that they have yet to achieve in their battles with Central Coast Mariners this season: score! But with the Yellow & Navy showing signs of weakness - like a batsman in the nervous nineties - this could be the perfect time to play them. Can the Victory make the most of facing a club that has had its confidence knocked, or will they be hit by a backlash?
Whatever happens, this battle is sure to be a belter, so don't miss out on Friday night's outstanding Hyundai A-League action. Be there!