Two teams in the Hyundai A-League have hit their form once again and will do battle not IN! the Central Coast on early Friday morning but AT! Kardinia Park (a.k.a. Simonds Stadium) in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Yes, an AFL ground is being used for a soccer game too, and this ground is the home of the Geelong Football Club, the Cats, self-purported as “The Greatest Team Of All” in their stylized parody of “Votre Toast” from Carmen.
Tony Walmsley‘s Central Coast Mariners are coming off a 3-1 result over a toothless Wellington Phoenix outfit and battle Kevin Muscat‘s Melbourne Victory, who snapped a five-game winless streak with a gritty, yet rare 1-0 victory on the road against Newcastle Jets. The match kicks off Round 14 of the home-and-away season in the A-League.
“We knew our statistics weren’t great coming here but to do it like we did…it was a great team performance after what’s been a tough couple of weeks,” said Victory’s Archie Thompson. “We worked hard. We knew they [Jets] were going to come out on their home patch and do well so I’m really proud of the lads.
““We’re right in the mix. Our performances haven’t been bad just the results. But we finally got the win and now we’re back on track. We weren’t as clinical as we would like to be or usually are in front of goal but we got the win and we’re happy.”
The Mariners will be without the services of Roy O’Donovan, who will face sanctions for his head-butt on Wellington’s Manny Muscat. Nonetheless, their depth will be key, while goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle will be a main problem for Victory’s attack to solve. A win by the Mariners this Friday won’t immediately put them into the chase, but every result counts.
“It feels good, it feels like I need to dig into my memory to remember last time [we won],” said Walmsley of their performance against the Phoenix. “They’ve worked really hard, at the end of the day the players went out and did an incredible amount of work and got their reward.”
“There’s been six games this season where we’ve either lost by one or drew so the margins are pretty fine. If there’s a goal difference here and there we’re not sitting bottom, we’re sitting mid table pushing for finals.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:40 a.m. PT/3:40 a.m. ET/7:40 p.m. AEDT. The Live Blog for Central Coast vs. Melbourne Victory is scheduled for 10 p.m. PT (Thursday)/1 a.m. ET/5 p.m. AEDT. Here’s what we think will happen down at Kardinia Park between the greatest team of all…the A-League, Melbourne Victory, and the Central Coast Mariners.
- At least 30 fouls will be whistled.
- At least five cards will be issued.
- At least 10,000 will be in attendance.
- Besart Berisha will score for Melbourne.
- Fahid Ben Khalfallah will score for Melbourne.
- Mitch Austin will score for Central Coast.
- Danny Vukovic will make under five saves.
- Tom Heward-Belle will make at least four saves.
- No goals will be scored in the first 10 minutes.
- No goals will be scored in stoppage time.
In a gritty, straightforward encounter down at Kardinia Park, the Melbourne Victory Football Club will show that they are ready to return to the usual winning ways. Central Coast will be the designated hosts, but really, this is a glorified home game for the Big V and it will be just another Victory for Victory, what else?
Melbourne Victory 2, Central Coast Mariners 1