Preview: Victory v Mariners
This Sunday the Central Coast Mariners travel to AAMI Park to take on a red-hot Melbourne Victory side for the final time this season. Kick-off is 5pm.
It’s shaping up to be a tough fixture for both sides with the Mariners looking to overcome two previous defeats against Victory whilst the home team will need to bounce back quickly from their midweek 4-0 loss to Guangzhou Evergrande in China.
The last time these two teams met, the Mariners went agonisingly close to downing the Victory when they were 2-0 up at half time, courtesy of two stunning free-kicks to Andrew Hoole. Although Kevin Muscat’s men emerged 3-2 winners thanks to their fast-firing second half.
The Mariners will be without Kye Rowles and Aiden O’Neill through suspension, but welcome back Jem Karacan who returns from his suspension.
Pending the wash up from Victory’s trip to China, they look likely to travel to the Central Coast with a full bill of health.
What’s been said, Alen Stajcic
“We’ve got two of the better teams in the comp back-to-back in Perth and now Melbourne Victory,” Stajcic said. “So that’s a great challenge for the team, last week was a little bit disappointing in the first half but in the second half I feel that we controlled the game a lot more, hopefully we can bring that back into this game.
The return of Jem Karacan…
“Jem’s back but unfortunately Aiden O’Neill and Kye Rowles are suspended. We’ve got two our and one back I but Jem’s been extremely influential in the two games I’ve been in touch with the team against Newcastle and Adelaide so it’s great to have him back.
“To be captain of an English Premier League team, you know the value and experience he can bring into the team. Beyond his playing ability, he brings leadership that we missed a bit last week, but he’s back this week fresh and ready to go.
Victory’s quick ACL turnaround…
“Victory are probably the best team in the competition on paper, they are star studded throughout the whole squad and there’s so much depth there. They had a fantastic game against Sydney last week. They’ve had a tough week with Champions League and some travel but with the depth of their squad I’m sure they’ll be in good nick – they have a lot to play for heading into the finals and Champions League.
Mariners motivation for the final three games…
“There’s plenty of motivation there, we’re in touching distance of Brisbane so avoiding that wooden spoon is a motivation for the team, we’re five points behind at the moment with three games to play.
“There’s a lot of drive to keep competing until the end of the year. The positives we can take from the last three weeks is that we’ve improved our defensive structure. In the second half against Perth we started to control passages of the game and pin them back. We missed that cutting edge in the final third so if we can improve that aspect there’s no doubt we can cause Melbourne Victory a bit of trouble this weekend.
“I don’t care who we play. Three points is three points. Victory are obviously one of the big clubs of the A-League so it will be a great contest but the motivation is there for us regardless who we play,” Stajcic said.
Word from the opposition camp
"We focus on our league. We have the A-League on Sunday so our main focus is for that. We have a busy schedule and it's going to be tough, it's a challenge, but we're up for the challenge and we have the right mentality for it." – Victory captain Carl Valeri.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matthew ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Corey BROWN, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Kenny ATHIU, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11.Ola TOIVONEN, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI, 24. Elvis KAMSOBA
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Storm ROUX, (promoted), 7.Kenny ATHIU (promoted), 15.Raul BAENA (return from injury), 20.Lawrence THOMAS (promoted)
Outs: 25.Anthony LESIOTIS, 30.Matthew SUTTON
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY,11.Connor PAIN, 18.Matt MILLAR, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 17.Peter KEKERIS, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW 25.Jordan MURRAY, 28.Sam GRAHAM, 29.Stephen MALLON, 68.Jem KARACAN
***One to be omitted***
Ins: 17.Peter KEKERIS (promoted), 23.Mario SHABOW (promoted), 68.Jem KARACAN (return from suspension)
Outs: 13.Aiden O’NEILL (suspended – 1 week), 15.Kye ROWLES (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 10.Tommy OAR (knee injury) & 21.Corey GAMEIRO (knee injury)
Opta Stat Attack
- The Mariners haven’t won against Melbourne Victory in the A-League since April 14, 2013.
- Melbourne Victory have scored just four first half goals in their last nine A-League fixtures, at home, failing to score in the opening 45 minutes in six of those games.
- Only two of Victory’s 79 A-League goals against the Mariners have come inside the first 10 minutes.
- A striker has only scored one of Victory’s last seven goals against the Mariners, that was Kosta Barbarouses in the 88th minute in February 2019.
- James Troisi has scored in both meetings with the Mariners this season, he is without a goal since last facing the Mariners eight games ago.
- Kevin Muscat is yet to lost against as a manager against the Mariners.
Hyundai A-League Round 25
Sunday, 14 April 2019
Match: Melbourne Victory vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEST)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #MVCvCCM & #CCMFC