With a goal difference of two the only factor separating these two teams going into this crucial match (Victory 6th and Glory 7th), Friday night’s game is priming to be a juicy encounter.
Perth will be full of confidence after capping off a wonderful performance at home in last week’s 4-2 win against Wellington Phoenix with their young boys showing the league a thing or two. Melbourne will be looking to bounce back after a 2-1 loss to Newcastle Jets in an entertaining affair.
Both teams have injury concerns but Perth will still be severely undermanned, but will also welcome the return of captain Jacob Burns after serving a two match suspension. He looks to have his work cut out for him though as the players who have stepped in in his absence are playing extremely well.
With 7 of the starting 11 being 21-years-old or younger, the young boys of Perth completely outplayed the Phoenix for most of the match, as Ernie Merrick later admitted in the post match interview. The silky possession leading up to many attacking forays for the home side was probably the best football I have seen from Glory in a long time, and for that performance to come from a bunch of kids is mightily exciting for the future of Perth Glory and Australian football.
Sidnei’s first goal for his new club, which he is reportedly in the process of resigning for another two years, came after some exquisite play between the defence and midfield which allowed Sidnei to receive the ball in between Wellington’s midfield and defensive lines. While turning and taking a few strides toward goal, he unleashed a rocket from outside of the box in the 16th minute which well truly set the tone for the match.
Goals to Stein Huysegems and Paul Ifill put the Kiwi side ahead, only for the Glory to climb back on top and dominate the game. Michael Thwaite and substitute Adrian Zhara all getting on the scoresheet, along with Sidnei again for his second, to send Perth fans home happy after an incredibly entertaining game.
Victory have a slight concern as Archie Thompson missed the last game against the Jets and was reportedly unable to complete training yesterday due to a hamstring injury which looks to rule him out of the clash between Perth.
After Nathan Burns put the away side ahead in the 44th minute, the Victory were searching for an equaliser straight away while threatening Mark Birighitti’s goal with a total of 21 attempts. One out of those 21 was converted as James Troisi scored his 6th goal of the season to level the scores back to 1-1. Victory’s hard work was undone as in the 66th minute after showing great composure and technique, Burns got his second of the match to snatch all 3 points for Newcastle.
The Glory are still without regulars Shane Smeltz (ankle), Josh Risdon (knee), Travis Dodd (knee – recovering) and William Gallas (calf). Although according to Alistair Edwards Gallas’s injury seems to have healed, it is now just a matter of getting him on the park. Another big blow for Perth is that the fears of signs shown late in the game against Phoenix came true as Sidnei has slightly strained his hamstring and will be out for a week, a massive blow as he has been one of the standouts for Glory and the league. However the return of Ryo Nagai will be music to the ears of the Perth coaching staff.
Melbourne Victory have won three of their last four A-League clashes with Perth (L1); including a 2-1 win in last season’s play-offs.
Defeat at the hands of Newcastle at the weekend ended a five game unbeaten run at home for the Victory (W4 D1).
Perth have won just two of their 13 previous trips to take on the Victory in the A-League; drawing four and losing seven.
No team has scored more headed goals this season than Perth (3).
Melbourne Victory Squad: 1. Nathan COE (GK), 2. Pablo CONTRERAS, 3. Adama TRAORE, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Gui FINKLER, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 14. James TROISI, 15. Mitch NICHOLS, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24, Scott GALLOWAY. 25, Jason GERIA (two to be omitted)
Ins: Archie THOMPSON (returns from injury), Scott GALLOWAY (promoted)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 4.Ryan EDWARDS, 6.Cameron EDWARDS, 7. Jacob BURNS, 8.Ryo NAGAI, 10.Jamie MACLAREN, 14.Steven McGARRY, 17. Chris HAROLD, 18.Jack DUNCAN, 20. Danny DE SILVA, 22. Ndumba MAKECHE, 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Matthew DAVIES, 25. Riley WOODCOCK
Ins: 7. Jacob BURNS (returns from suspension), 22. Ndumba MAKECHE (promoted)
Outs: 11. Adrian ZAHRA (omitted), 16.Sidnei SCIOLA MORAES (Hamstring injury)