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Jan 07, 2022   |  4:02PM AET

Popovic bracing for a fiery Original Rivalry clash

Popovic bracing for a fiery Original Rivalry clash

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic is bracing for a fiery clash when Adelaide United come to town on Saturday night.

Victory have defeated their Original Rivalry counterparts in both the league and the FFA Cup already this season and are desperate to maintain their recent success to remain top of the A-League Men table.

Popovic says he expects another heated affair at AAMI Park.

“I hope it’s that way,” he said. “That’s what derbies should be.

“Now that I’ve experienced it in Adelaide in a couple of games against them, the intensity lifts from both sides.

“I expect the same tomorrow, but this time we’re expecting our home fans to help us with the noise that they create. They can be our 12th man to help us get over an opponent which I know will be difficult and as derbies are you expect it to be tough and physical and aggressive with a lot of passion and we’re looking forward to that.”

Italian striker Francesco Margiotta has scored in both trips to Adelaide this season – the opener in the league win and the winning penalty in the midweek FFA Cup victory.

With a strong spread of goalscorers and attacking options across the pitch, Victory should again trouble Adelaide’s defence, which has held up well this season against other opposition.

With the Victory’s “12th man” set to create a hostile environment for the visitors, Popovic is confident his side can come away with another three points.

“I think it all comes down to the passion of the fans. They create the noise, they create the atmosphere, which creates even a better rivalry amongst the players,” he said.

“We’ve experienced it now in Adelaide, we want Adelaide to experience that here tomorrow with our support, with our home fans and our members here cheering us on. It’s another chance to get three points over them.”

The match kicks off at 7.45pm on Saturday night at AAMI Park.