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A goal in the 20th minute from Ola Toivonen proved enough to secure a win in the Big Blue for Melbourne Victory.
Melbourne Victory 1
Sydney FC 0
We come to yet another instalment of the Big Blue for this Australia Day occasion, as Melbourne Victory play host to Sydney FC, in the battle of the giants at AAMI Park, in a battle for second spot. Join The Roar from 7:50pm (AEDT) for live scores and blog of the game.
The stakes are always large in this matchup. Regardless of ladder position due to these two clubs laying claim to being the biggest football clubs in Australia, but add to that the battle for the all-important top-two spot, and this game is even bigger.
The Victory have hit a bit of a lull in recent weeks, whether it is because of the tough run of matches or the loss of Honda, they have gone from fighting for top spot to fighting for second spot.
Such is the demand and pressure on Melbourne that it says a lot about their brand that falling out of the top two is a problem, but they will be eager to re-assert their authority on the competition, in a high stakes game against Sydney.
Melbourne got the job done over Sydney last time this season, but it is questionable how much confidence they will take from that, as their form has been, well, patchy over the last few games.
In Honda’s absence will be the big man up front, Ola Toivonen, who is banging in goals with a regularity that is almost singlehandedly winning games for Melbourne.
And of course, James Troisi is enjoying a purple patch of form, and the will no doubt be eager to go to yet another level for this clash.
As for Sydney, they too are winning games, but the season is starting to catch up with them.
They worked hard for their win over Wellington during the week, and it will be a big question over them how they back up from the mid-week game for tonight’s clash.
Adam Le Fondre will be keen to continue his incredible season to date with a goal or two against a big opponent, and given that they relied on an own goal to get the job done against Newcastle, a lot more will be expected from Le Fondre and whomever partners him up front for this match up.
Sydney have a good record for Australia Day matches, having won three out of their last four, so they will be hoping that at least that part of history stays on their side.
Staying with the home side for the Australia Day clash, and they should be able to replicate their earlier season match up.
I am tipping Melbourne as much for the home ground advantage as I am for Sydney being all the more tired from a fair amount of travel leading up to the clash.
Melbourne Victory 2-1.
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