Australia Day weekend on the Hyundai A-League wraps up on Tuesday, January 26 when Melbourne Victory take on Sydney FC in the renewal of the Big Blue at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. This is the U-NITE match, and may be a sign of things to come in the Finals Series, which both teams are close to qualifying for. In their last meeting, Victory hammered Sydney 4-2 and the Sky Blues will be hoping to exact some payback on Australia Day. Or rather, Australia Night.
“If we look back at games, we’ve had opportunities to break away, and tonight we were ruthless in that front third,” Muscat said of last weekend’s performance against Brisbane Roar, a 4-0 hammering of the league leaders.. “As a group we give that opportunity to our front third to apply that sort of pressure, in terms of chances and goals.
“When our attitude’s right and we’re structured and disciplined, they get those opportunities because of the structure of the team. There have been other games when we’ve created a number of chances that just haven’t gone our way, so hopefully now they’ll come in droves.”
Melbourne is currently 7-3-5 (24 points, 5th), while Sydney are 7-6-2 (27 points, 3rd). The Sky Blues defeated the Western Sydney Wanderers on a last-minute goal from Shane Smeltz, 2-1, on the roar.
“I saw a few comments during the week from some of their players that ‘it’s been a long while since they have won a derby’,” said Arnold last weekend. “A couple of them don’t even know what it’s like to win a derby. [Nikolai] Topor-Stanley is the longest-serving player here along with Mark Bridge and they remember what its like and the rest don’t. So maybe it’s playing on their minds a bit but not on ours.”
“We came here to make us hard to beat, to nullify the spaces. Their danger-men of [Mitch] Nichols, [Mark] Bridge and [Romeo] Castelen, I thought we kept them very quiet tonight. If you do that you’re halfway to getting the job done. Our form has been written about that we’re not travelling too well but we’re one point off the top of the competition.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 a.m. PT/3:30 a.m. ET. A special live blog of the Big Blue is scheduled to start Monday night at 9 p.m. PT/midnight ET (Tuesday). Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the Australia Day Big Blue U-NITE match between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
At least four cards will be issued.
Vedran Janjetovic will make at least four saves.
Danny Vukovic will make at least four saves.
Besart Berisha will score for Melbourne Victory.
Filip Holosko will score for Sydney FC.
Kosta Barbarouses will score for Melbourne Victory.
Alex Brosque will score for Sydney FC.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah will score for Melbourne Victory.
Archie Thompson will score late for Melbourne Victory.
This will be a high-scoring affair, and one you don’t want to miss. Melbourne Victory will double-up on Sydney FC, as will the last match, and all the big names will get in on goal. Enjoy, and Happy Australia Day!
Melbourne Victory 4, Sydney FC 2