In what could be the final installment of the Melbourne Derby for several months in the calendar year (unless the Finals Series pits these two together), John van’t Schip’s Melbourne City and Kevin Muscat’s Melbourne Victory will be locked in a tight arm wrestle for playoff positioning. The Victory are coming off a 1-1 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers, while City came off second best in their 2-1 defeat to Newcastle Jets. The Victory released a statement on the behavior of their opposition’s supporters last weekend. Here it is in full.
Melbourne Victory Football Club has, and will continue to, work tirelessly and collaboratively with all key stakeholders to provide our members and fans with the best possible match day experience at our home games.
We are unwavering in our resolve and commitment that this experience be safe, family-friendly, enjoyable, unique and one that we can all be proud of. These attributes of our match day experience attract our members and fans to support our club and encourage new supporters to attend. The incidents that occurred at our game on Saturday night, caused by a small minority of fans, compromises our intent and brings damage to the reputation of the game as a whole.
We are extremely disappointed that many of our members and fans were negatively affected and we stand united with all Hyundai A-League clubs, and the FFA, to eradicate this completely unacceptable behaviour. We can assure all of our members and fans that we will continue to work with the FFA, Victoria Police, stadium management, security and other stakeholders to ensure Melbourne Victory games offer a family-friendly environment, which allows the club and the game to be celebrated.
We have a number of high-profile games to come as the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season heads towards an exciting conclusion and our collaborative planning and preparation for these games will take into consideration the regrettable incidents of Saturday night. As such, we will make any necessary changes to reduce the risk of such incidents occurring again. We thank our members and fans for their continued support.
“I’m very excited to be down here and I have my short term future sorted so the sooner the better for me,” said City’s new acquisition Alex Wilkinson. “I’ve watched a lot of the derbies on TV. I’ve never been to one live so it’d be a huge game to be involved in and a very important game for us. Obviously it’d be great to get a win and if I could be involved in it, it would be fantastic.
“I trained with all the boys who were not involved in the game (on Sunday) and the way they set it up, they mirrored the session to be similar to the exertion in a game so it was a reasonably tough. I came through it pretty well and now I’m looking forward to the session today, tomorrow and the rest of the week.”
Kickoff at AAMi Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia is scheduled for Saturday, 12:30 a.m. PT/3:30 a.m. ET/7:30 p.m. AEDT. The Live Blog begins on Friday night at 10 p.m. PT/1 a.m. ET and includes bonus coverage of Sydney FC vs. Perth Glory. Here’s 10 Bold Predictions for the Melbourne Derby between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- At least four cards will be issued.
- A player will be sent off.
- Bruno Fornaroli will score for Melbourne City.
- Besart Berisha will score for Melbourne Victory.
- Aaron Mooy will score for Melbourne City.
- Alex Wilkinson will score for Melbourne City.
- Kosta Barbarouses will score for Melbourne Victory.
- Thomas Sorensen will make at least four saves.
- Danny Vukovic will make under five saves.
In a high-scoring encounter at AAMI Park, it will be Melbourne City that will continue its form against Victory and come out on top at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. Here’s our predicted set of scorelines for Round 19 of the 2015-16 Hyundai A-League.
Melbourne City 3, Melbourne Victory 2
Brisbane Roar 4, Newcastle Jets 2
Sydney FC 2, Perth Glory 3
Central Coast 0, Adelaide United 3
Western Sydney Wanderers 4, Wellington Phoenix 1