Men’s Match Preview: Round 10 v Central Coast

Melbourne Victory is in for a trip to the Central Coast as they aim to return to winning ways to bring in the New Year.

Victory for the Victory is top of mind, who have not lost in Gosford since the early stages of 2020.

In a welcomed boost for the squad, central defender Matthew Spiranovic is available for selection after returning from a long-term injury, with the 36-time Socceroo having been in full training for a number of weeks.

Goalkeeper Paul Izzo has succumbed to a thumb injury, opening the door of opportunity to Matt Acton and Ahmad Taleb.

Reflecting on last week, Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic said his coaching team has taken lessons to bring into this week’s tussle with the Mariners.

“Look, you can always take lessons from the match. I thought the first 30 minutes, we were very, very good.

“We had very good control of the match, with and without the ball – which is what we wanted.

“We’ve got to look at ways to create better opportunities.”

Player in Focus

Jason Geria has not missed a beat since returning to Victory’s XI, with the fullback starting all three of Victory’s games since the end of the FIFA World Cup Break.

Geria will be tasked with the job of stopping the likes of Garang Kuol, Jason Cummings and Béni N’Kololo – who have all been named in an unchanged Central Coast squad.

History against the Mariners

The Victory hold the lion’s share of the success in this fixture, claiming maximum points in 24 of 49 previous encounters.

Round 10 on New Year’s Eve will be the first time these two sides come up against each other in the current campaign.

2021/22, March 9: Central Coast 1-1 Victory
2021/22, February 19: Victory 1-0 Central Coast
2021 Australia Cup Final: Victory 2-1 Central Coast
2020/21, May 2: Victory 1-1 Central Coast
2020/21, March 27: Central Coast 1-1 Victory

Melbourne Victory Squad

1.Matt ACTON, 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Enrique LOPEZ, 4.Rai MARCHAN, 5.Matt SPIRANOVIC, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 8.Josh BRILLANTE, 10.Bruno FORNAROLI, 11.Ben FOLAMI, 15.George TIMOTHEOU, 16.Stefan NIGRO, 17.Luis NANI, 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 22.Jake BRIMMER, 23. Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 24.Nishan VELUPILLAY, 28.Will Wilson, 30.Ahmad TALEB 31.Matthew BOZINOVSKI

In: 5.Matt SPIRANOVIC (returns from injury), 17.Luis NANI (returns from injury), 23.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), 30.Ahmad TALEB (promoted) 

Out: 14.Jay BARNETT (omitted), 20.Paul IZZO (injured)

Unavailable: nil

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League – Round 10
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory
Saturday 31 December
Kick-off: 7.00pm (AEDT)
Industree Group Stadium, Gosford
Broadcast: Paramount+ and 10Bold