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Mar 17, 2022   |  3:24PM AET

Liberty A-League preview: City v Victory

Liberty A-League preview: City v Victory

Match details

City v Melbourne Victory
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT
Broadcast: Paramount+, 10 Bold

Preview

Melbourne Victory is aiming to reach a fourth Liberty A-League Grand Final when it takes on City in a blockbuster clash at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Victory faces City in a Preliminary Final, with the winner to face Sydney FC at Jubilee Stadium on March 27.

A 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium saw Victory earn a meeting with City.

Lia Privitelli and Melina Ayres were on the scoresheet in an impressive win for Victory, which kept its Championship defence alive.

Ayres’ goal was her 15th in the Liberty A-League for Victory, with only Natasha Dowie (34) having netted more for the Club.

It was set up by Privitelli, the captain a constant threat down the right for Victory.

Victory won last season’s Grand Final in Sydney, with that decider its third in the competition’s history – having also appeared in the showpiece game in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

In a boost, Victory regains Kyra Cooney-Cross after the star missed the trip to Adelaide due to suspension.

Victory and City will play what is the first ever Debry meeting in the Liberty A-League Finals Series.

Player in focus

Ayres showed in Adelaide just what Victory has missed all season. The forward regularly threatened and her hold-up play was excellent, with her first start of the campaign also delivering the match-winning goal.

What they said – Hopkins

on health of squad…
“Everyone came through the game really well. Obviously there’s one or two that we’ve watched very, very carefully. We trained on Tuesday, just a recovery session, trained yesterday, everyone was available to train, we managed a few players through, made sure that they recovered well out of the game and everyone was ready to train yesterday so had a good session. We actually worked pretty hard, got some good work into our legs and then the girls were in the gym afterwards. Everyone was available so I’m really pleased obviously with the result of the game, but also that everyone came through it really well.”

on squad having more energy…
“I’ve kind of been saying it for a couple of weeks now. This is back to what we were like earlier on in the season. The few performances leading up to the game in Adelaide hadn’t been at our best and we understood that, but we understood there was a reason why and it was nothing other than our energy levels just weren’t allowing us to play the way that we wanted to play. Last weekend I thought we were back to our normal self and better as well. I’m really pleased and really comfortable where we are at the moment and I think we said it before, actually coming through that tough period has given us a bit of a tougher edge, a bit of a resilience to know that we can come through that and we can come out of it the other side even stronger. I’m more than happy that the group are back to a really good place.”

on Cooney-Cross returning and having options…
“That’s the good thing. Everybody’s available and it’s a good position for me to be in, it’s a good position for the team to be in, everyone’s training really well, everyone’s pushing really hard and it’s good to know that we’ve got a number of choices and a number of different ways that we can do things, which maybe we didn’t have even three or four weeks ago. It’s a good place to be in.”

on City meetings this season…
“I think from that game (on Boxing Day), we learnt a lot about City, but most probably learnt a lot about ourselves in terms of how we needed to change, how we needed to adapt. We learnt a great deal from that game, we analysed that game really well and the following week we played Roar and we were good for most of the game until we had a player sent off and then after that the adjustments we made from that game have really held us in good stead so for us it was a really good learning period and a learning moment in that game. From that game, I think that gave them a lot of confidence as well. They’ve been very consistent since the and unfortunately for them they’ll be without a couple of their quite influential players (Melissa Barbieri and Tyla-Jay Vlajnic) as well and obviously they’ve lost young (Holly) McNamara as well which is a real shame not just for them but for the whole game in general because she’s a top-quality player. They’ll have to adjust and adapt a little bit, but we’re expecting a very, very tough game against City. I think both teams understand that we’re pretty well matched and it’s going to be a really good spectacle and a really tough game.”

Last time

Liberty A-League 2021/22 Round 4
Melbourne Victory 1-5 City
Sunday, December 26, 2021
AAMI Park, Melbourne

Just two weeks after Victory beat City, the latter responded.

Hannah Wilkinson scored five times on Boxing Day before Maja Markovski’s late consolation goal for Victory.

Head to head

Round 4, 2021/22: Victory 1-5 City at AAMI Park
Round 2, 2021/22: City 1-2 Victory at AAMI Park
Round 10, 2020/21: Victory 2-3 City at Epping Stadium
Round 6, 2020/21: City 0-6 Victory at CB Smith Reserve
Round 12, 2019/20: Victory 0-4 City at Lakeside Stadium