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Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix have shared the points in a fiery encounter at Aami Park.
In a clash that saw 10 yellow cards, as well as a send-off for Victory midfielder Kristijan Dobras, neither side could find the back of the net as Marco Kurz’s maiden season in Melbourne continued its lacklustre start.
While the two sides combined for 29 shots, just three were on target.
Melbourne Victory 0
Wellington Phoenix 0
Sitting tenth on the A-League ladder, Melbourne Victory desperately need a win to avoid falling further behind the pack, although a clash with the red-hot Wellington Phoenix will be no easy task. Join The Roar for live scores from 5pm (AEDT).
A sluggish start to the season from the Victory is nothing new. After all, they won just twice in their first nine games back in the 2017-18 season, before going on to clinch the title.
However, this season feels more worrisome. Nine rounds in, they have only eight points to their name and have conceded more goals – 14 – than any other side.
Their woes were summed up in a 3-1 loss to crosstown rivals Western United last week; not only did they continue to look hopelessly out of form down back after taking an early lead, but it was an old favourite in Besart Berisha who capitalised on it with two first-half goals.
The pressure on new coach Marco Kurz is already beginning to ramp up, and another disappointing performance would add yet more fuel to the growing fire.
Conversely, the Phoenix couldn’t be travelling more smoothly; three straight wins have them as one of the form sides in the competition, as well as back in the top six.
Ufuk Talay’s men showed they’re able to win ugly in a scrappy affair with the Wanderers last week, a late penalty from Ulisis Davila securing them the three points despite a poor first half.
But it’s their performance from the previous week that will most concern the Victory brainstrust, a stirring away triumph over an in-form Adelaide United in which the Nix fought back from a 1-0 deficit with two goals in five minutes in the second half.
After losing their first four games of the season, though, the New Zealanders can ill afford to come off the boil, with finals berths tighter than ever this season.
Historically, it’s never been wise to bet against the Victory on home soil, but in their current state and with the Phoenix in vintage touch, it’s hard to envision them taking all three points, or even one of them.
Can the Victory bounce back and finally begin to motor under Marco Kurz? Or will the Phoenix make it four on the trot and continue to rise up the ladder? Tune into The Roar’s live coverage of Round 10 of the A-League season from 5pm (AEDT), and remember to leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Fox Sports, Kayo Sports, MyFootball app (live)
Betting: Melbourne Victory $2.05, Draw $3.50, Wellington Phoenix $3.20