Men’s Match Preview: Crucial Clash v Sydney

Melbourne Victory welcome Sydney FC to AAMI Park on Thursday night, with both sides needing three points to reignite their push for finals.

Rarely do Victory and Sydney meet with both sides nearer the bottom of the table than the top.

That reality means this week’s clash takes on even more significance, with both sides hoping for an improved second half of the campaign.

Victory will take confidence from their strong recent record against the Sky Blues, having won the last two meetings.

The most recent of those came back in Round 1 of the season, where Victory secured an epic 3-2 win at Allianz Stadium.

Popovic will likely be drawing on that performance in the hopes of producing a similar result on Thursday.

However, he will have to do so without a number of key players from the game in Round 1, with Luis Nani out for the season due to injury and Nick D’Agostino having recently secured an overseas move.

Nonetheless, Victory will be hoping to rediscover their attacking flare against the second-leakiest defence in the competition.

This week’s game will start a run of four of the next five games being played at home for Victory, which will no doubt provide an additional boost to the playing group.

Recent history against Sydney

Two wins and a draw in the last three meetings makes for favourable reading from a Victory perspective, although only one of the last five games has been played in Melbourne.

2022/23 (Oct 8): Sydney 2-3 Victory
2021/22 (May 7): Sydney 1-4 Victory
2021/22 (Jan 25): Victory 2-2 Sydney
2020/21 (May 19): Sydney 2-0 Victory
2020/21 (Apr 27): Sydney 1-0 Victory

Melbourne Victory Squad

1.Matt ACTON, 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Enrique LOPEZ, 5.Matt SPIRANOVIC, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Josh BRILLANTE, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Bruno FORNAROLI, 11.Ben FOLAMI, 14.Jay BARNETT, 16.Stefan NIGRO, 21.Roderick MIRANDA, 22.Jake BRIMMER, 24.Nishan VELUPILLAY, 25.Noah SMITH, 26.Lleyton BROOKS, 28.Will Wilson, 29.Eli ADAMS, 30.Ahmad TALEB, 31.Matthew BOZINOVSKI

In: 16.Stefan NIGRO (promoted), 26.Lleyton BROOKS (promoted), 28.Will WILSON (promoted)

Out: 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (suspended – 2 weeks)

Unavailable: 4.Rai MARCHAN (concussion protocol), 17.Luis NANI (injured), 20.Paul IZZO (injured)

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League – Round 14
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Thursday 26 January
Kick-off: 6:45pm (AEDT)
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: Paramount+