Liberty A-League preview: Victory v Canberra

Match details

Melbourne Victory v Canberra United
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Friday, March 4, 2022
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Broadcast: Paramount+, A-League Radio


Melbourne Victory can secure a place in the Liberty A-League Finals Series when it hosts Canberra United at AAMI Park on Friday.

Victory’s fate is in its own hands ahead of the final game of the regular season, with a win guaranteeing a fourth-place finish.

Even a draw could be enough to hold off Perth Glory, who are two points behind Victory.

After seven games in 23 days, Victory gets its longest gap between matches since the start of February.

Victory is on a four-game winless run, most recently suffering a 3-0 loss away to Adelaide United on Saturday.

A tired Victory was punished for its mistakes at Coopers Stadium, leaving its place in the Finals Series yet to be secured.

In a boost, Victory is set to regain New Zealand international Claudia Bunge against Canberra, while Alana Murphy was an unused substitute in Adelaide after recovering from an ankle injury.

While goalkeeper Casey Dumont suffered an injury against the Reds, forward Melina Ayres is in contention to return.

Ayres is yet to make an appearance this season and her next game will be her 50th for Victory in the Liberty A-League.

Player in focus

Victory will be glad to have Bunge back. The centre-back has missed Victory’s past four games after going away on international duty.

What they said – Hopkins

on having more preparation time…
“It’s been good. We’ve had to be quite smart with them with their recovery. We haven’t tried to fit too much in. There were a couple of areas that we needed to work on from the last game. We had a review this morning (Wednesday) of the last game at Canberra and just went through a few things just for 10 minutes or so before training, then we went out and worked on them, couple of things defensively and definitely a few things offensively that we feel if we do them really well we can cause Canberra a lot of problems. We’ve worked on that this morning and it was really good as well. Everything we did was of a good quality and the girls were in the gym again, first time in a while as well. We’re making sure physically we’re in as good nick as possible. Today was the last day of doing any real work. We had a good solid session and then tomorrow will be a real short, sharp session and we’ll be ready for Friday then.”

on Bunge’s return…
“It’s good to have ‘Bungey’ back around the group. She brings a real positivity to the group and some quality as well. It’s good to have her back so that’ll mean maybe a little reshuffle of the squad, just to have a little look at our starting XI now, bringing ‘Bungey’ back in. For the first time in a while we’ll most probably bring Melina back in this week, into the squad, so a few decisions for me to make this week.”

on knowing what’s required to make the finals…
“The good thing is our fate is in our own hands. We need to just be aware of that and know that okay, we go out and we get the right result this Friday and we’re into finals. That’s one real advantage for us. There’s nothing worse than knowing that you have to win plus waiting for someone else. Everyone understands it’s a big game for us, it’s a game that we’ve got to win really, we don’t want to be hanging around and waiting for results if we draw as well. We’re going out there with a real positive mindset, we understand there’s a few things we need to tidy up from the last game and we also understand there are a number of areas that we didn’t perform offensively against them that if we do we can be really effective against them.”

Last time

Liberty A-League 2021/22 Round 8
Canberra United 2-2 Melbourne Victory
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Viking Park, Canberra

A pair of goals just prior to half-time from Chelsee Washington and Michelle Heyman put Canberra in control.

But Victory produced a fast finish and drew level thanks to goals from Alex Chidiac and Tiffany Eliadis late on.

Head to head

Round 8, 2021/22: Canberra 2-2 Victory at Viking Park
Round 12, 2020/21: Victory 1-1 Canberra at Epping Stadium
Round 11, 2019/20: Victory 3-0 Canberra at Lakeside Stadium
Round 12, 2018/19: Canberra 0-0 Victory at Belconnen Soccer Centre
Round 1, 2017/18: Victory 2-1 Canberra at Epping Stadium