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It was Adelaide United who came out on top in the latest original rivalry game as they comfortably defeated Melbourne Victory by three goals to one.
The form side coming in completely dominated proceedings – 23 shots is an extraordinary amount – and despite the equaliser never looked in danger of dropping points this evening.
Marco Kurz’s return to his former club was not a happy one and Victory are in desperate trouble right now.
Ola Toivonen scored the equaliser and he was again the player who looked capable of creating for his side. Too often he had to drop incredibly deep to gain possession and turn the tide but it was not enough.
The abjectness of the away team should not, however, take anything away from Adelaide’s performance.
Gertjan Verbeek’s men were a relentless force going forward, bombarding the Victory goal and perhaps should have scored more.
The impressive Riley McGree grabbed the opener after tapping into an empty net when Kristian Opseth’s shot came back off the post.
The equaliser arrived in the second half when Toivonen blasted home on the volley after Robbie Kruse’s excellent assist but it was to be short-lived.
Michael Maria immediately broke forward from left back and bundled into the goal after his shot took a couple of deflections.
McGree then killed the game as a contest after outmuscling Tim Hoogland, moved into the box and sweetly tucked under the legs of Lawrence Thomas.
The win moves Adelaide into third, only behind Sydney FC on goal difference.
This was also impressively their fourth league win in a row and they’ll be very confident of making it five when they face Wellington Phoenix, again at Coopers Stadium, next Sunday.
Victory are now just one point from bottom, simply an unacceptable position for this lauded club, and if Kurz can’t inspire his players to a home win against Perth Glory next weekend, his time as coach might already be up.
Adelaide United 3
Melbourne Victory 1
In Saturday’s evening tie, Melbourne Victory coach Marco Kurz returns to his former club, Adelaide United, assured of an interesting reception. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog, starting from 7:30pm AEDT.
He won the FFA Cup during his time in Adelaide and has spoken this week of his excitement about returning to Coopers Stadium but it will be a strange sight for the home supporters seeing him in Navy Blue colours.
His side, to make matters worse, are in poor form, a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC in the Big Blue Derby last weekend leaving them closer to the bottom of the A-League table than the summit.
Adelaide, meanwhile, can rise to second with a win tonight, due to their game in hand over both Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United.
The Reds have won their last three games and will go in as strong favourites to continue this run.
One of their scorers from last weekend’s win against Central Coast Mariners, Ben Halloran, will be missing, a blow given his good form,
Victory can count on the return of several key international players to bolster their ranks after the international football break, including Storm Roux and Thomas Deng.
Andrew Nabbout is also back from injury and could be key in improving the side in attack.
Robbie Kruse returned to an A-League pitch last weekend for a late cameo appearance but could line up from the start if Kurz values his experience for this derby.
Adelaide United starting XI (predicted)
GK: Paul Izzo
RB: Ryan Strain
CB: Michael Marrone
CB: Michael Jakobsen
LB: Michael Maria
RCM: Riley McGree
CM: Louis D’Arrigo
LCM: James Troisi
RW: Al Hassan Toure
ST: Kristian Opseth
LW: Nikola Mileusnic
Melbourne Victory starting XI (predicted)
GK: Lawrence Thomas
RB: Storm Roux
CB: Thomas Deng
CB: James Donachie
LB: Adama Traore
RCM: Jakob Poulsen
CM: Migjen Basha
LCM: Anthony Lesiotis
RW: Robbie Kruse
ST: Ola Toivonen
LW: Andrew Nabbout
Victory will be hoping the return of their international stars will enhance their chances this evening but Gertjan Verbeek has his Adelaide players flying and the home side should make it four wins on the trot.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog, starting from 7:30pm AEDT.