Preview: Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United

Melbourne’s season is very much rolling thanks to the momentum of four wins from the past five matches and the next target for Victory is a very familiar one in Adelaide.

Preview: Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
Date: Saturday October 24
Kick-off: 6:30pm AEDT (6:00pm ACST)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 HD and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 774 ABC Melbourne. To purchase tickets visit
Played 19: Wins: Melbourne Victory 11, Adelaide Reds 5. Draws: 3

Previous meeting
Adelaide United 0, Melbourne Victory 2, Round 7, February 2009

Last five matches:
Melbourne Victory:
Round 7: Adelaide United 0, Melbourne Victory 2, Hindmarsh Stadium
Round 8: Gold Coast United 2, Melbourne Victory 3, Skilled Park
Round 9: Melbourne Victory 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Etihad Stadium
Round 10: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 3, Etihad Stadium
Round 11: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium

Adelaide United:
Round 7: Adelaide United 0, Melbourne Victory 2, Hindmarsh Stadium
Round 8: North Queensland 0, Adelaide United 2, Dairy Farmers Stadium
Round 9: Adelaide United 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Hindmarsh Stadium
Round 10: Perth Glory 1, Adelaide United 0, ME Bank Stadium
Round 11: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 1, Hindmarsh Stadium

Melbourne’s season is very much rolling thanks to the momentum of four wins from the past five matches and the next target for Victory is a very familiar one in Adelaide. You’ll remember Adelaide. It is the team that Melbourne has put to the sword on seven successive occasions, including last year’s Grand Final. Well, the Reds take their hopes of ending that horrible hoodoo to Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Both of these teams are coming off impressive wins last week. Adelaide knocked off Sydney, the only team to beat Melbourne in the past five weeks, 2-1 with just 10 men for much of the match and looked impressive. Victory took a little time to warm-up against Newcastle but after Archie Thompson levelled with a sublime chip, completely overwhelmed the Jets 3-1 thanks to a fantastic performance from Carlos Hernandez.

The previous time these two teams met six weeks ago proved a turning point in Melbourne’s season. Forced by injury and poor form to shuffle things around, Ernie Merrick pushed Nick Ward and Tom Pondeljak up alongside Thompson up front and Adelaide had no answer. Ward scored the opener, Grant Brebner scored another late and it was the kick-start Melbourne needed.

Since then it has been relatively plain sailing despite the fact that Merrick has been forced to continually change his side around because of injuries. This week is no exception with two of Melbourne’s most experienced players, Rody Vargas and Pondeljak to miss. Melbourne hasn-t been without Vargas in a game since November 2007 in a period stretching back 44 games.

He’ll miss two weeks with a thigh injury, while Pondeljak becomes another long-term casualty and will miss another six with a calf tear. The upside of all the action in the medical room is that has allowed Melbourne to expose its depth. Last week we saw Mate Dugandzic impress greatly when given his chance while this week, Sutee Suksomkit, the Thai international striker, has been named and is likely to play some part. Matthew Foschini is the other player included.

Adelaide gets back two of its most influential players in Travis Dodd and Lucas Pantelis for this match, while Daniel Mullen and Inseob Shin come into an extended squad, with Fabian Barbiero suspended.

But the challenge facing Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar is how to fit Dodd and Pantelis into a winning set-up. Last week, the Reds opted for two up front and young gun Matthew Leckie did a great job alongside two-goal hero Cristiano. Traditionally with Dodd and Pantelis in the side, Adelaide has played one up front.

In the back of Vidmar’s mind will be the fact that the last time the Reds came to Etihad Stadium to attack, in the second leg of the major semi-final, Hernandez tore them apart and Melbourne won 4-0. It’s a difficult choice for the Reds coach. He wants to remain positive, but he knows he will be punished if he gives Melbourne too much room to attack.

Despite the one-sided nature of this match in recent times, this is one of the Hyundai A-League’s premier rivalries. It should be a fantastic display of two sides trying to stamp their credentials as true contenders.

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5.Surat SUKHA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 13.Nathan ELASI, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27.Sutee SUKSOMKIT

In: Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted), Sutee SUKSOMKIT (promoted)

Out: Tom PONDELJAK (calf – 4-6 weeks), Rodrigo VARGAS (thigh – 2 weeks)

Unavailable: Marvin ANGULO (pending registration), Evan BERGER (thigh – 1 week), Billy CELESKI (knee – season), Robbie KRUSE (hamstring – 2 weeks), Steven PACE (calf – 1 weeks), Nick WARD (infection – 2 weeks)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 13. Travis DODD (Capt), 12. Paul REID, 14.Scott JAMIESON, 16.Inseob SHIN, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN
*three to be omitted*

In: Travis DODD (returns from injury), Daniel MULLEN (promoted), Inseob SHIN (promoted), Lucas PANTELIS (promoted)

Out: Fabian Barbiero (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable: Joe COSTA (knee – long term injury list)