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Nov 20, 2008   |  7:12PM AET

Preview: Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

Preview: Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

This should be one of the best games of the 2008/09 Hyundai A-League season with Victory on top of the table and Central Coast having moved into second spot following last week’s emphatic 3-0 win over Adelaide.

Date: Friday November 21
Kick-off: 8pm
Venue: Telstra Dome, Melbourne

TV and Radio:
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM and Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM .

Head-to-head
10 A-League meetings: Melbourne Victory – 4 wins, Central Coast – 3 wins, Draws – 3

Previous meeting
Central Coast 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Round 5, 2008

Past five rounds
Melbourne:
Round 7: Melbourne Victory 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome
Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Round 9: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 2, Telstra Dome
Round 10: Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Victory, Hindmarsh Stadium.
Round 11: Queensland Roar 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Suncorp Stadium

Central Coast:
Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 3, Hindmarsh Stadium
Round 8: Central Coast 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Bluetongue Stadium
Round 9: Central Coast 1, Newcastle Jets 0, Bluetongue Stadium
Round 10: Sydney FC 3, Central Coast 3, Sydney Football Stadium
Round 11: Central Coast 3, Adelaide United 0, Bluetongue Stadium

Analysis

This should be one of the best games of the 2008/09 Hyundai A-League season with Victory on top of the table and Central Coast having moved into second spot following last week’s emphatic 3-0 win over Adelaide.

It also pits the league’s highest scoring team in the Mariners, who have scored 23 goals in 11 matches this season, against a Melbourne team that has the competition’s equal best defensive record this season having conceded just 11 goals.

And it should be noted that Victory is also the competition’s equal second highest scoring team as well with 20 goals for the season despite having been without the likes of Archie Thompson, Ney Fabiano and Carlos Hernandez for large chunks of the season.
But with both Thompson and Fabiano now having completed suspensions – with Thompson having scored the winner in the Victory’s most recent match, a 1-0 win over Queensland, and with Hernandez to make his return this week from a torn quad, Melbourne’s attack is finally back to full strength.

And while the Mariners have a powerful front three with the competition’s leading scorer this season in Matt Simon supported by Sasho Petrovski and Dylan Macallister, Victory’s attacking options are superior and they have a better defence.

And that combined with the fact this game will be played at Telstra Dome should see Melbourne prevail in what shapes as a high-scoring and entertaining game.

Melbourne Victory Squad. 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD.

In. Carlos HERNANDEZ (return from injury).
Out. Jose Luis LOPEZ (international duty – 1 week).

Unavailable. Evan BERGER (hamstring – 1 week), Nathan ELASI (groin – 2 weeks), Steven PACE (groin – 1 week).

Central Coast Squad: 2. Andre GUMPRECHT, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 6. David D’APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 23. Mile JEDINAK, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).
*one to be omitted.

In. 2. Andre GUMPRECHT (Promoted).
Out. Nil.

Unavailable. 8. Dean HEFFERNAN (Ankle – Indefinite), 12. Greg OWENS (Hamstring – Indefinite), 13. Paul O’GRADY (Groin – Indefinite), 15. Andrew CLARK (Shoulder – Indefinite), 21. Ahmad ELRICH (Knee – Season).

Victory memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are currently available from the Victory Shop, 236 Swan Street, Richmond, by calling 1300 GO MVFC or online by clicking here.