Victory face derby test

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The return from the Asian Cup break saw the Melbourne Victory travel to Perth for a three all draw with the Glory. Despite leading 3-1 with less than 15 minutes to go, the Glory hit the back of the net twice to draw level. The result essentially saw the Victory drop two points and lose the chance to sit comfortably in second place and apply pressure to Perth. Victory must respond as they head into the final instalment of the Melbourne derby for season 2014-15, a must win for both sides.

2 points dropped

When asked what happened during the game against Perth, coach Kevin Muscat said the team played “80 minutes of very good football … and 10 minutes that we’d rather forget.”

Dropping a two goal lead against the current league leaders, besides showing the strength of the Glory, is a concern for the Victory defence which has been much improved this season. Muscat said there were “a lot of positives” including Kosta Barbarouses’ first goal of the season, Besart Berisha’s first strike from open play in a month and a multitude of chances created.

However, there was also plenty to learn from, particularly for Nathan Coe who can be take some responsibility for the second goal. Ultimately, it was two points dropped rather than a point gained for the Victory and the result will fuel the fire in the squad to win big against their cross town rivals.

Squad news

There should be a few changes to the side which took on the Glory. Both Archie Thompson and Scott Galloway have been included in an extended squad, with the former likely to take a place on the bench. Kevin Muscat must decide between Jason Geria, Daniel Georgievski and Scott Galloway for the two full back positions.

Mark Milligan is still unavailable for selection as he must serve the final week of his three match ban – the game against Perth didn’t count as he was on international duty. In better news, Matthieu Delpierre has returned to the training pitch for the first time since he injured himself in the FFA Cup quarter final, also against the Glory. Muscat expects the French defender to be available for selection in the near future.

Victory were dormant in the January transfer window – a positive if you consider there were no transfers out and a few young players re-signed leading up to the Asian Cup break.

How to beat City

Victory will be looking to avenge their December derby loss and are helped by the fact that their cross town rivals have never won back to back derbies in the history of the fixture. City’s Australian marquee Josh Kennedy looks set to make his debut as a substitute, and will be a handful for the Victory defence.

The home side will need dictate play especially in the midfield and use the flanks, as well as the speed of their wide players to their advantage. Extra emphasis will need to be placed on defence to ensure late goals aren’t conceded as seen in Victory’s last match as well as their previous derby encounter.

Marissa Lordanic

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