Muscat expects electric atmosphere at AAMI Park


One of the Hyundai A-League’s marquee occasions is upon us, pitting the competition’s two principal powerhouses against one each other for another instalment of the game’s biggest rivalry – and Kevin Muscat can’t wait for things to get underway.

“Apart from the annual goings on – there are a lot of people who come to the game and leave with a smile on their face because of the [citizenship ceremony] – there are a lot of people who’ll walk away knowing they’ve been to a sporting event with an unrivalled atmosphere,” Muscat said on Friday.

“AAMI Park, when it’s in that mood, is an electric stadium and we look forward to that as a playing group and a football club.

“We’ve got an opportunity to go out and perform [in front of that] at a level to win three points and we embrace that.”

The Melbourne Victory boss and his team have looked closely at last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Wellington, taking heart from a superb second-half turnaround.

“We’ve spent the week [focusing] on ourselves and making sure we’re prepared and ready to go.

“We’ve identified some key things from that second-half last week – we didn’t want to be in that situation, that goes without saying, but the second-half was absolutely tremendous.

“The way the team went about things, the type of football we played and the goals we scored… was some really, really good football and we want to reproduce that.

The hosts will still be without imports Keisuke Honda and Georg Niedermeier, but Raul Baena is in the frame to return to the starting line-up for the first time since Round 6.

“[Raul] comes into consideration this week. Once again he contributed very well coming on at half-time and was a big factor in the team’s performance, which was outstanding.

“He is now at a point where we start entertaining starting him. He’s had a decent week of training and is a contemplation for us.”

Round 16 tickets