Melbourne Victory will be hoping to bounce back quickly from last week's loss to Sydney FC but face a tough task against bogey side Perth Glory, who are full of confidence.
Saturday, 11 March 2017
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Brennan
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Melbourne, ABC Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, 1116 SEN (Melbourne)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MVCvPER #FFW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.Alan BARO (returns from illness), 19.George HOWARD (promoted)
Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Aryn WILLIAMS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 23.Kosta PETRATOS, 28.Joe KNOWLES, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC (returns from injury), 23.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted)
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks), 4.Shane LOWRY (quad – 1 week) , 15.Brandon WILSON (back – 1 week),18.Mitch OXBORROW (foot – 2 weeks)
Conventional wisdom suggests last week's Big Blue was a preview of the A-League grand final with Sydney on the verge of wrapping up the Premier's Plate and second-placed Victory holding a nine-point advantage over the rest of the competition.
Glory will aim to cast some doubt on that widely held belief on Saturday night when they visit Victory.
Perth are one of four clubs to have beaten Victory this season and the trip to AAMI Park shouldn't worry Kenny Lowe's side too much.
Glory haven't lost to Victory in the A-League in almost three years, although they have succumbed twice in the FFA Cup in that period, with the Western Australian club having avoided defeat in their past five meetings with Kevin Muscat's men.
This season Glory held on for a 1-1 draw in Melbourne in December, while in January, Perth triumphed 2-1 at home.
If the men in purple could notch another win in Round 23, there will be growing sense Victory could be vulnerable to teams below them come finals time.
Both coaches have regained the services of key players this week, with Perth's Nebo Marinkovic returning from a groin injury after missing two games, while Victory defender Alan Baro is also back after illness forced him out of the loss to Sydney.
Perth will arrive in Melbourne after a busy period of travel - they claimed a 3-3 draw away to Wellington Phoenix last week - but are full of confidence as they haven't lost in five matches.
Victory will want to regain some momentum and take another step to securing AFC Champions League qualification in one of their three remaining home games before the finals begin in April.
ROUTE TO GOAL
'The Three Musketeers' did the job for Glory against the Phoenix in Round 22, with Andy Keogh, Adam Taggart and Diego Castro all getting on the scoresheet in Auckland.
In a topsy-turvy encounter, Castro provided the moment of magic that sealed the draw, with the Spaniard curling a free-kick inside the far post from a tight angle in the 81st minute.
The Spaniard has been brilliant in Perth's current unbeaten run, scoring five goals and setting up another two.
Victory were held scoreless for just the third time this season last week but their highly-rated attack has arguably been off the boil since the start of February.
The Big V have managed seven goals in five games but three of them came in one fixture away to Central Coast Mariners.
Besart Berisha remains two goals off a century in the A-League and has scored in 10 of Victory's past 15 games, so don't be surprised if the future Kosovo international finds the net against Glory after he failed to produce a shot on target versus the Sky Blues.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Diego Castro. The reigning Johnny Warren medallist is making a late charge to win the award again in 2016/17 and was scintillating against Wellington Phoenix, scoring a brilliant equalising free-kick and leading Glory for shots and chances created.
Melbourne Victory: WDWWL
Perth Glory: WWDWD
Melbourne Victory 1-1 Perth Glory