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It’s desperation stakes in the Big Blue as Sydney FC travel to AAMI Park to take on a spluttering Melbourne Victory. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 7:30pm (AEDT).
The Old Hume Derby (a tag I’m hoping to coin) carries extra significance this week as Victory are flatlining, and bitter rivals Sydney FC can drive the stake in. Victory now sit in eighth, a win behind Adelaide United who knocked them off last Friday, and desperately need a bit of luck in the league.
Despite all the doom and gloom, there was some good news this week to hearten Melbourne supporters. Not only did they brush aside Bali United FC in their Asian Champions League qualifier (a 5-0 victory that could have been more), but they’ve also re-signed fan favourite Marco Rojas from yet another unsuccessful time in Europe.
The speedy wide player will add another dimension and flexibility to the attack. Victory can now drop Elvis Kamsoba into midfield, move to a 4-4-2, or allow Ola Toivonen to drop into a ten role.
In contrast, Sydney FC are cruising. They’ve won four of the last five, had a week off (with the bye) are streets ahead on top and can do no wrong. For this game, they can recall Rhyan Grant and Luke Brattan from suspension, are only missing bit-player Trent Buhagiar on Olyroos duty, and will be itching to heap further misery on their rivals.
Victory can welcome back Ola Toivonen to the starting XI – he came on and scored against Bali – and Rojas has been included, but they’re still decimated at the back. Thomas Deng is away with the Olyroos and James Donachie is suspended.
They’ll need to push the Leigh Broxham button vigorously in this game, and just who will partner him at the centre of defence is anyone’s guess. Ben Carrigan seems the logical choice – he got some minutes against Bali – but Adam LeFondre and Kostas Barbarouses will be salivating for this match-up.
This could get ugly. Victory often get up for big games but I can’t see them keeping out Sydney for 90 minutes. The purist in me hopes for a shootout, but Melbourne’s lack of cohesion up front seems the biggest barrier to that.
Melbourne Victory 1-4 Sydney FC
Kick-off: 7:30pm (AEDT)
Venue: AAMI Park
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go, MyFootballLive app
Odds: Melbourne Victory $3.10, Sydney FC $2.20, draw $4.00
Melbourne Victory squad
2. Storm Roux, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Kenny Athiu, 8. Jakob Poulsen, 9. Andrew Nabbout, 10. Robbie Kruse, 11. Ola Toivonen (c), 16. Josh Hope, 17. Elvis Kamsoba, 18. Migjen Basha, 19. Ben Carrigan, 20. Lawrence Thomas (gk), 21. Adama Traore, 23. Marco Rojas, 24. Anthony Lesiotis, 25. Brandon Lauton, 26. Jay Barnett, 50. Brendan White (gk)
Sydney FC squad
1. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 2. Patrick Flottmann, 4. Alex Wilkinson (c), 5. Alex Baumjohann, 6. Ryan Mcgowan, 7. Michael Zullo, 8. Paulo Retre, 9. Adam Le Fondre, 10. Milos Ninkovic, 11. Kosta Barbarouses, 16. Joel King, 17. Anthony Caceres, 18. Luke Ivanovic, 21. Harry Van Der Saag, 23. Rhyan Grant, 24. Marco Tilio, 26. Luke Brattan, 27. Jordi Swibel, 28. Calem Nieuwenhof, 30. Adam Pavlesic (gk)