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It’s do-or-die time for both Melbourne Victory and the Newcastle Jets in their match on Saturday night, with both sides needing a win to keep their already slim finals hopes alive. Join The Roar for live scores from 7:30pm (AEDT).
The Victory have only missed the finals three times in the A-League, and not since the 2011/12 season.
However, missing out this season is looking more and more likely by the week for new manager Carlos Salvachua. They haven’t won a match in over a month, and from their last five matches, they’ve managed to scrape just a solitary point.
It means that a loss to the Jets this week would see them fall to tenth on the ladder, and perhaps give sacked former coach Marco Kurz some justification that the Victory’s woes this season weren’t all down to him.
As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, they head into the match off just a four-day break, having featured on Tuesday in the Asian Champions League, while Robbie Kruse is expected to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring tear.
Unlike the Victory, the Jets’ form has undoubtedly improved with a new hand at the wheel, coach Carl Robinson’s first match in charge continuing a run of three matches without defeat for the strugglers.
Their 1-1 draw with the Wanderers last week could have been even better, with the Jets dominating the final stages after a Matt Millar equaliser in the 74th minute.
They’ll be boosted this week by the likely club debut of star import Wes Hoolahan, the so-called ‘Irish Messi’ having been sidelined since September last year with a serious ankle injury.
Coming off a trip back from Korea and a forced quick turnaround from their last AFC match, this has danger game written all over it for the Victory.
Minus Kruse and with the Jets looking to have found some form, it would be an impressive effort for them to salute in Newcastle, and they’ve been anything but that in this season from hell.
Jets 2-0 Victory
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Time: 7:30pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports 505
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel GO
Odds: Newcastle Jets $2.25, Draw $3.50, Melbourne Victory $2.85