Liberty A-League preview: Victory v Adelaide

Match details

Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT


Melbourne Victory’s Liberty A-League Championship defence begins against Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Victory is back in competitive action for the first time since edging Sydney FC in a Grand Final thriller in April.

Jeff Hopkins’ side welcomes the Reds to AAMI Park in the opening game of a double-header.

Victory has retained the core of the Championship-winning squad as it aims to go back-to-back.

Kayla Morrison, last season’s Victory Medallist, has been named captain, at the helm of a leadership group that also includes Lia Privitelli and Melissa Maizels.

Victory has welcomed Commonwealth Bank Matildas defender Courtney Nevin to the squad, with the 19-year-old arriving from the Western Sydney Wanderers.

All of Victory’s home games this season will be played as AAMI Park double-headers, beginning with Sunday’s encounter.

Victory has lost just one of its past six games at the venue, a promising record ahead of the opening match of the season.

Hopkins’ team has won the past two encounters against Adelaide, both played away from home.

Player in focus

Kyra Cooney-Cross finished as the joint runner-up for the Julie Dolan Medal last season and the 19-year-old is one of the players to watch in the Liberty A-League this campaign.

What they said – Hopkins

on preparation…
“It’s been good actually. Today we had Kyra, Courtney back, just a little bit of recovery, we’ll get Claudia Bunge back tomorrow, she’s come back from South Korea, we had a really good session today actually, got some conditioning done earlier on in the week, girls came in nice and fresh today and we had a really good, bright session. It was great as well, Caroline (Carnegie) and JD (John Didulica) came down, just personally wished all the players good luck for the season and showed them a video about the history of the Club and it’s a really positive day. It’s getting close now. I think the players can feel how close it is and they’re pretty excited I think.”

on Cooney-Cross and Nevin…
“They obviously played a fair bit of game time the two of them so they didn’t do a full session. They just came in and did a recovery session with the ball, they walked through the set-plays with us at the end, they watched the tactical work we did but they didn’t join in. They’ll do some more recovery this afternoon, maybe get a massage and then they’ll be ready to go tomorrow. They both said they felt just a little bit generally tight today, but that’s to be expected, they played a lot of game time against the best team in the world which is fantastic for both of them, great experience for them. I think it will hold them in good stead to look back on these games later on in the season, stuff that they’ve learnt and can put into practice with us.”

on Adelaide…
“I’ve got a lot of respect for them as a team and the coaching staff, they’re always very well setup, last year they kind of made another big step forward, well organised, some good individual local-based players. They have over the past invested in a lot of local talent and I think last year was the first year it really, you could really see they got a bit of a reward for all the previous work they’ve done in the years before leading in. They’re going to be strong again this year, we’re expecting a really tough game. It’s a tough start for us, but it’s going to be a good test because we’ve not really had too many games in pre-season, it will give us a realistic yard stick of where we are. We’re looking forward to the game, we think we’re in pretty good shape but time will tell over the next two games. I reckon once we get to kind of Round 3 we’ll know exactly where we are.”

Last time

A-League Women 2020/21 Round 3
Adelaide United 0-1 Melbourne Victory. Friday, January 29, 2021
Marden Sports Complex, Adelaide.

Victory needed until late to break the deadlock in Adelaide last season.

Catherine Zimmerman headed in the game’s only goal in the 78th minute.

Head to head

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
Round 1, 2018/19: Victory 0-0 Adelaide at AAMI Park
Round 14, 2017/18: Adelaide 2-1 Victory at Marden Sports Complex