Sydney FC vs. Melbourne Victory
MATCH UP STATS
Sydney FC vs. Melbourne Victory
Season record:Sydney FC: 15-5-1Melbourne Victory: 13-3-5
Last 5 results:Sydney FC: WLWDWMelbourne Victory: WWDWL
Friday, March 3, 2017, 7.50pm, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Watch on Fox Sports.
THE two best teams in the A-League meet in a crucial clash that will just about decide top spot.
Eight points ahead of the Melbourne Victory with six games to play, this is a double points contest for Sydney FC, who would effectively seal the title if they defeat their southern rivals.
And they are an even-money favourite with Sportsbet.com.au to do so.
With such a large buffer the Sky Blues aren’t exactly in any trouble, but a loss earlier this month – ridiculously their first of the season after 20 games – would give Melbourne the sniff they needed to pounce.
But Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold says the pressure will all be on Melbourne, who need to win to keep their slim chances of finishing with the Premiers Plate alive.
“The pressure is on them,” Arnold said.
“The main goal is to be the best team in the history of the 10-team competition with 58 points, and that’s what we’re striving for.
“We’ve got six games left, we’ve got four games at home and only two away so we want to win our home games.”
Victory’s split is 50-50, with three games at home and three away, including the clash with Sydney FC and the club holds a huge 11 point lead over the third placed Perth Glory.
It’s a good spot to be in, but could be better if they can knock over the Sky Blues.
The Victory are unbeaten in four matches, having won their last two, including a 2-1 to the positive performance against Adelaide United on the weekend.
Victory dominated United throughout the game and should have scored more goals, but they were denied by young Reds goal keeper Daniel Margush, who made a string of great saves, keeping United on level pegging at half time.
But he could not deal with Marco Rojas’ brilliant sweeping free kick that scooped up over the wall and nestled inside the near post in the 66th minute.
On 82 minutes, that man Besart Berisha made fools of two defenders with an absurd finish with the outside of his boot that gave the keeper no chance. It was another stunner from the man who has provided so many throughout his career.
In fact, an interesting sideline to this most interesting clash is the fact that Berisha needs just two goals to become the first man to reach a century in A-League history.
The Sky Blues bounced back from their loss to bitter rivals Western Sydney Wanderers by demolishing Melbourne City 3-1 on the weekend.
A Bobo penalty came first, 24 minutes into the first half after Filip Holosko was brought down in the box, but a Sky Blues’ lapse allowed Nick Fitzgerald in on goal just a minute later.
A goal to Brandon O’Neill and then a second to Bobo after the break left no doubt about who would win this one.
Can they do it to the other Melbourne side, or will Victory cause trouble?
First goal scorer predictions
With apologies to the likes of Bruno Fornaroli, it’s hard to make a case for a better player than Ninkovic in the A-League. His skills are sublime and he dazzles teammates, opponents and fans alike. Sydney FC have a mountain of goal machines up front and yet this guy still manages to get his, even though he is down the pecking order when it comes to out and out strikers. We love a guy in double figures who you know is a genuine chance.
Josh Brillante ($15 with Sportsbet.com.au)
A little left field, but the defender is certainly capable of getting forward and causing a bit of havoc for the goalkeeper. Has pace to burn and uses it to devastating effect. If he does manage to get a chance, you would feel confident that he can finish. At $15, you can have a tiny drink on him and know that you’re going to get plenty of bang for your buck.
The record setting goal machine is primed to smash yet another milestone in the Big Blue. It will take two goals to crack 100 career goals, but if you think Besart Berisha doesn’t have a brace in him, then you haven’t watched enough A-League. An absolute cold blooded killer from any where on the park, any consideration for first goal scorer bets when Berisha is involved begins and ends with the naturalised Albanian.
Marco Rojas ($9 with Sportsbet.com.au)
The key figure for Melbourne Victory this season. When he performs – which is often – they win. And they have won a lot. He is a set up master and a superb finisher, using his tiny frame and great pace to weave his way through the tightest situations and finish with aplomb. If you’re money is on Rojas, you always feel you are a chance.
Match result: Sydney FC to win ($2 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Correct match score: Sydney FC to win 2-1 (+700 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total match goals: Over 2.5 match goals ($1.68 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Any time we see Sydney FC at even money, I’m sorry, but we have to take it. It just doesn’t happen often. Even if it is the second best team in the competition they have to play against, it’s in their domain and they hold all the aces. Last clash between these two pair ended in a 2-1 win to the Sky Blues and we would not be surprised if this match was a carbon copy.
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