Melbourne Victory vs. Melbourne City
MATCH UP STATS
Melbourne Victory vs. Melbourne City
Season record:Melbourne Victory: 10-2-5Melbourne City: 7-6-4
Last 5 results:Melbourne Victory: LLLWWMelbourne City: LWLWD
Saturday, February 4, 2017, 7.50pm AEDT, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Watch on Fox Sports.
DERBY number four for the year just feels a little bit lacking.
But hopefully all that goes out the window on Saturday night as second placed Melbourne Victory take on third side Melbourne City in a battle for bragging rights in the most liveable city in the world.
Apart from the fact that this is the fourth time these two teams have met on the season, both of them are just plain struggling.
After appearing to be the only real challenger to Sydney FC for the Premiers Plate, Melbourne Victory is staring down the barrel of a fourth straight loss, while Melbourne City hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, winning just twice in its last five, with two losses and a draw.
Victory missed a golden opportunity to keep in touch with Sydney by losing a home town clash in front of more than 30,000 people 2-1 last Thursday night.
Things started positively for the Victory and they were rewarded by James Troisi, who slotted a lovely curling strike from the edge of the box after being picked out by star Marco Rojas.
But that was the beginning of the end.
Star striker Filip Holosko put the Sky Blues back on terms on 38 minutes when he deftly flicked a looping header past Lawrence Thomas and into the net, beautifully picked out by Milos Ninkovic.
And then a barnstorming Bernie Ibini stole all three points when he bustled nto the box, muscling his way past two Victory defenders and then slotting home on 65 minutes.
Things only got worse for Victory as frustration set in when defender James Donachie was shown a straight red card for a fearsome tackle on public enemy number one – Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque.
He will now miss the clash with City, hurting his club’s chances.
The loss was tacked onto road defeats at the hands of Wellington Phoenix and then Perth Glory in a horror fortnight for Victory.
But at least it was against the top side.
City found itself embarrassed on Friday night when it fell to the lowly Newcastle Jets, 2-1.
The Jets were sitting eighth on the ladder, but leapt two spots to put them back in the finals picture.
In the first 15 minutes, it looks like City would win about 10-0, but the Jets somehow absorbed wave after wave after giving up nearly 90 per cent of the possession, then went down the other end and fired in through he trusty boot of Andrew Nabbout.
A Newcastle hero then became a legend, making City pay for turning the ball over, firing the ball into the net after a perfect pass from Andrew Hoole.
It was doom and gloom for City, until they pegged one back through, who else, but Bruno Fornaroli.
Of course, it took the polarising Nabbout to bring about a penalty for City, his clumsy challenge on Josh Rose handing Fornaroli the spot kick to make it 2-1.
But that is how it stayed and City was left to rue missed chances.
It all amounts to an underwhelming clash… or does it?
Let’s not forget these two teams are second and third on the A-League ladder and possess attacking line ups most teams could only dream of.
Victory is a fearsome force on its home deck, firing in 25 goals in just nine matches, well ahead of City’s and Perth Glory’s 16, tied for second.
But City is a potent line up that has all the tools to cause them problems.
First goal scorer predictions
My computer auto corrected Besart to Beast and that’s pretty much what this man is. Don’t put your house on it, but gun striker Berisha owns a rather formidable record against City. He’s scored seven times in the last eight Melbourne Derbies and fired in 10 goals in his last 12 clashes with the light blue side of Melbourne. Given that he is still perhaps the best striker in the game – and is most definitely the highest scoring one of all time – there is no way you can go past the famous number eight in first goal scorer markets involving Melbourne City.
Bruno Fornaroli ($6.50 with WilliamHill.com.au)
The Uruguayan is among the classiest attackers in the A-League and trails only Berisha in the golden boot standings with 12. He is the captain and the heart and soul of the team. He is also their most consistent player, a terrier who, even when his side loses, never gives up. Loves getting back and laying a hard tackle, but loves it even more when he scores. A must have.
Match result: Melbourne Victory to win ($2.30 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Correct match score: Melbourne Victory to win 2-1 ($9 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Total match goals: Over 2.5 goals ($1.57 with WilliamHill.com.au)
If City can pull off a win here, it will be the first time – as either City or Heart – the franchise has won two derbies in the one season. And there is no doubt they can do it. But we fear the wounded Victory. Both clubs possess a variety of attacking players, but have been battling defensively of late. Donachie’s commission hurts Victory, but City’s defence has been getting cut to ribbons on the break away. While we don’t think Victory will park the bus, they will probably tighten up defensively and, if they score the first goal, won’t look back.
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