Melbourne Victory looks to build on back-to-back Hyundai A-League wins when it returns to action after the international break with a trip to Sydney FC.
Wins over the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners boosted Victory prior to the break, as the side prepares to face the Sky Blues at Jubilee Stadium in the ‘Rebel Female Football Round’ on Sunday.
Its attack found form against the Mariners, a dominant first half setting up a 4-1 win at AAMI Park.
Keisuke Honda moved onto two goals this season, joining midfielder Terry Antonis on that tally for Victory, while the Japanese star has also contributed three assists.
Having recovered from a calf injury, striker Ola Toivonen made his debut against the Mariners – setting up Josh Hope’s sealer – while teenage attacker Rahmat Akbari also came off the bench.
With Raul Baena sidelined due to injury, Carl Valeri has started each of Victory’s past two games.
Victory is joint-top for goals scored (eight) this season, while no team has played more passes.
It faces Sydney FC for the first time since its famous win over the Sky Blues in last season’s Semi Final.
Sydney has made a good start to the season, picking up eight points from its opening four games to sit second.
Player in focus
What they said
“It’ll be a huge game against one of our biggest rivals. The ‘Big Blue’ is always tough and always a great game. It’s something to look forward to and we definitely go out there expecting to win.” – Sydney defender Rhyan Grant.
“We tried to use the international break to get some of our injuries healing and, on the other side, to work on the good stuff we showed the last two games.” – Victory defender Georg Niedermeier.
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Semi Final
Sydney FC 2-3 Melbourne Victory (aet)
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Victory secured a famous win over the Sky Blues to book its spot in last season’s Grand Final.
Stefan Nigro and Antonis scored unfortunate own goals, Victory having taken a 2-1 lead through Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi.
But Antonis delivered the match-winner in extra time with a spectacular individual effort.
As it stands
Head to head
Semi Final, 2017/18: Sydney 2-3 Victory (aet) at Allianz Stadium
Round 27, 2017/18: Sydney 1-0 Victory at Allianz Stadium
Round 18, 2017/18: Victory 1-3 Sydney at AAMI Park
Round 1, 2017/18: Victory 0-1 Sydney at Marvel Stadium
Grand Final, 2016/17: Sydney 1-1 Victory (4-2 pens) at Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Kick-off: 5.00pm AEDT