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It’s the Farewell Marco Kurz Derby as Melbourne Victory travels to Coopers Stadium to take on Adelaide United on Friday evening at 7:30pm (AEDT). Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match.
It’s been a tumultuous week for Melbourne Victory, who parted ways with manager Marco Kurz. The former Adelaide United manager became a former Melbourne Victory manager after 15 points from 13 games in charge. Victory is not a ‘firing club’, but Kurz’s performances failed to inspire and have left Victory rooted to the bottom of the six.
To be fair, there have been a number of factors interrupting Kurz’s ability to put a winning side on the park. Injuries to key players, including top signings Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout and captain Ola Toivonen, have created inconsistency at selection, but the international signings this season have been abject at best. Indeed the internationals have been Victory’s biggest let-down this year. None have elevated the team into a top-four side.
Matters came to a head in Round 14’s bonkers loss to the Mariners, where Matt Simon buried two injury-time penalties to pinch victory from the Victory. Dropping a near-certain three points in such dire – and ridiculous – circumstances was probably the final straw for Kurz, whose tenure just seemed to be cursed.
Adelaide is another side that expected more but has disappointed thus far. The FFA Cup winners are in freefall, losing the last four and dropping out of the six to be overtaken by sides on the rise, like Wellington and Perth.
Talisman James Troisi is crocked with a hamstring, FFA Cup hero Al Hassan Toure is off with the Olyroos and the responsibility for creativity now sits almost fully with Riley McGree, who scored in their last outing, a 2-1 loss to Sydney before the bye.
This week Adelaide welcomes back German midfielder Mirko Boland for shuttling support beside young gun Louis D’Arrigo, but McGree needs to fire to improve their chances of success.
Conveniently for Adelaide the Victory’s defensive line is decimated. Thomas Deng is with the Olyroos, Tim Hoogland is perennially injured and Victory has finally lost patience with fullback Corey Brown, releasing him during the week.
The good news for Melbourne is the return of star forward Ola Toivonen, who has carried the side this season and will be thrilled to finally line up with both Nabbout and Kruse.
With not a lot of confidence I expect a no-manager bounce in this game. Victory is a proud club and must make a stand, and against a poor Adelaide in awful form they should have enough talent up front to get a result. But a clean sheet might be a step too far with a makeshift defence.
Adelaide United 1, Melbourne Victory 2
Kick-off: 7:30pm (AEDT)
Venue: Coopers Stadium
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go, MyFootballLive app
Odds: Adelaide United $2.00, Melbourne Victory $3.40, draw $4.00
Adelaide United squad
2. Michael Marrone, 4. Ryan Strain, 5. Michaal Maria, 6. Vince Lia, 7. Ryan Kitto, 8. Riley McGree, 11. Kristian Opseth, 14. George Blackwood, 16. Nathan Konstandopoulos, 17. Nikola Mileusnic, 18. Lachlan Brook, 20. Paul Izzo (goalkeeper), 22. Michael Jakobsen (captain), 23. Jordan Elsey, 26. Ben Halloran, 27. Louis D’Arrigo, 31. Mirko Boland, 33. Cooper Nunn, 37. Jai King, 40. Dakota Ochsenham (goalkeeper)
Melbourne Victory squad
2. Storm Roux, 4. James Donachie, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Kenny Athiu, 8. Jakob Poulsen, 9. Andrew Nabbout, 10. Robbie Kruse, 11. Ola Toivonen (captain), 16. Josh Hope, 17. Elvis Kamsoba, 18. Migjen Basha, 19. Ben Carrigan, 20. Lawrence Thomas (goalkeeper), 21. Adama Traore, 22. Kristijan Dobras, 24. Anthony Lesiotis, 25. Brandon Lauton, 26. Jay Barnett, 50. Brendan White (goalkeeper)