Liberty A-League preview: Adelaide v Victory

Match details

Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT
Broadcast: Paramount+, 10 Bold


Melbourne Victory faces Adelaide United in a do-or-die Liberty A-League Semi Final at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

Victory reached the Finals Series for the fourth straight season courtesy of a 0-0 draw against Canberra United on Friday.

After playing seven games in 23 days, it was Victory’s longest gap between matches, but there were still signs of the hectic schedule.

Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont, playing her 50th league game for the Club, produced an excellent performance to keep a clean sheet.

In another boost for Victory, Melina Ayres made her first appearance of the campaign off the bench, in what marked her 50th league outing for the Club.

Victory enters the Finals Series on a five-match winless run ahead of visiting the Reds on Sunday.

Despite that, Victory has lost just one of seven away games this season, winning five, although Adelaide, which finished third, will pose a major threat.

In a blow to Head Coach Jeff Hopkins’ side, Kyra Cooney-Cross will miss the clash through suspension.

Victory could regain Amy Jackson for the trip to Adelaide, with the midfielder having missed the past four games.

The winner of the encounter will face the loser of the meeting between the top two – Sydney FC and City – in a Preliminary Final.

Player in focus

Ayres made her first appearance of the season with a lively 16 minutes against Canberra. The forward looked dangerous during her cameo.

What they said – Hopkins

on preparation…
“We’ve had three good days of training so far. Players have got a day off today (Thursday). The quality of the training has been good, we got some tactical work in, worked on some of our general principles as well, around our defending, and the players have responded really well so they’re looking like they’ve got a bit more energy. It’s been a really good week, hoping the girls have a nice, relaxing day off today, I’m sure they’ll come in really focused and we’ll then really start getting them a little bit more focused on Adelaide, our opposition, and how we can beat them.”

on difference between finals and regular season…
“Obviously there’s a number of things that are different. It’s a one off game, you’ve got to prepare for that, you’ve got to prepare for a slightly different mentality going in there, there’s the tension of the game, which is often the deciding factor as well so I guess there’s a number of things that we’re looking at. We look at the previous game, I think the defeat that we had over there will be a real motivator for us, but also looking back at last year and what we had to do – we lost in Sydney our last game then we had to go away to Brisbane, again to a team that had beaten us already in the last game that we had played against them, so there are some similarities. Obviously the other thing being that this has been something that Adelaide have been building on for 13 seasons, I think it’s their first Finals Series so how they will react to that, we don’t know. They could come out absolutely buzzing, but I’m sure there’ll be a lot of nerves coming out from them as well. It’s important for us that we’re able to capitalise on that situation if it arises.”

on replacing Cooney-Cross…
“We’ve got everybody fit now and that’s great. I think probably the more important thing coming out of the Adelaide game wasn’t the result of the game, it was the fact that we thought we were most probably going into the rest of the season and finals without Casey and without ‘Zimm’ (Catherine Zimmerman). It’s been a real bonus that our medical staff have worked really well, worked really hard with them and the two girls have as well. They’ve done everything that’s been humanly possible to make sure that they’re right to get on the field and to get them back last week, although both of them weren’t 100 per cent fit, it was great but they’ll be firing on all cylinders this week so that’s the real bonus for us and obviously we’ll miss a player of Kyra’s quality, but we have got good cover to come in and that’s most probably what we lacked through that seven games, just one or two extra players to come in and just give us that depth through that period. We could’ve done with another couple of players and we had injuries through that time, but now we’ve got everyone ready. Emma Robers is back from her concussion, ‘Zimm’, Casey, Melina’s back, she’s had a bit of a run last week as well and she’s feeling really good. I’m in a real good space about where we are as a team and I think the players are as well. The last thing as well is that they’re feeling like they’ve got a bit of the energy and that spark back, which I think for the last two or three games in that run of seven we kind of lost that a little bit and we know it wasn’t there and that’s most probably the deciding factor in some of the games that we lost so I’m really pleased to see the players in good spirit and also there seems to be some real energy. We worked hard yesterday and the quality and the intensity of the training was back to what it was like earlier on in the season so I’m feeling good about the weekend.”

Last time

Liberty A-League 2021/22 Round 13
Adelaide United 3-0 Melbourne Victory
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Victory’s fatigue showed in what was the team’s seventh game in 23 days.

Fiona Worts scored a hat-trick for Adelaide against a tiring Victory at Coopers Stadium.

Head to head

Round 13, 2021/22: Adelaide 3-0 Victory at Coopers StadiumRound 1, 2021/22: Victory 5-1 Adelaide at AAMI Park
Round 3, 2020/21: Adelaide 0-1 Victory at Marden Sports Complex
Round 10, 2019/20: Adelaide 0-3 Victory at Marden Sports Complex
Round 8, 2018/19: Adelaide 3-2 Victory at Marden Sports Complex