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Melbourne Victory - Adelaide United Preview

Goal.com logo Goal.com 23-02-2017

Melbourne Victory have been given a foothold in the A-League premiership race but must beat bitter rivals Adelaide United if they are to catch Sydney FC.

SQUADS

Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (promoted), 19.George HOWARD (promoted)

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Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Adelaide United squad: 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.Jae-sung KIM, 9.Baba DIAWARA, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 13.Marc MARINO, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 24.Jordan O'DOHERTY, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 9.Baba DIAWARA (promoted), 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted)

Outs: 8.Isaìas (knee – indefinite)

Unavailable: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (shoulder – indefinite), 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (hip – 5 weeks), 22.Ryan KITTO (hamstring – 4 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

This match has a lot more riding on it than second versus last normally would.

Not only are bragging rights between Victory and Adelaide on the line, which is no small thing with these two clubs, but the hosts have an opportunity to build the pressure on A-League leaders Sydney.

The Sky Blues' derby loss and Victory's 3-0 triumph away to Central Coast Mariners last week have seen the Big V move within eight points of Sydney.

After Sydney defeated Victory 2-1 at Etihad Stadium on Australia Day, the Sky Blues appeared a lock to claim the Premier's Plate.

But if Melbourne City defeat Sydney on Friday and Kevin Muscat's side claim a season whitewash over Adelaide on Saturday, Victory will be within five points of the pacesetters ahead of the Big Blue in Round 22.

A win for Victory there and Sydney's advantage would be cut to two points with five matches left in the regular season.

Adelaide will head across the South Australia-Victoria border having notched a rare A-League win last week before slumping to a 3-0 loss in the AFC Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday.

Gamba Osaka were far too polished for the Reds in the ACL and any positivity from the 1-0 triumph over Newcastle Jets may have been lost.

Adelaide will be without Isaias, who injured his knee against Newcastle, while Baba Diawara is set to make his A-League debut after coming off the bench against Gamba.

Victory have recalled Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who was left out against the Mariners.

ROUTE TO GOAL

The A-League's best attack will host the worst at AAMI Park on Saturday night - Victory (42 goals) have scored over two-and-half-times as many goals as Adelaide (16).

In fact, Victory marquee Besart Berisha has scored as many A-League goals as the Reds in 2016-17.

Berisha notched a brace against the Mariners as Muscat's men produced a dominant display in Gosford, with attacking midfielder James Troisi scoring the visitors' other goal to continue his blistering form of 2017.

Troisi has struck five times this year and notched two assists - only Berisha (7 goals) has been involved in as many Victory goals in that period.

Adelaide coach Guillermo Amor needs to find a new focal point to his attack as the Reds have managed just two goals in four matches this month with Sergio Cirio - who has yet to score this season - leading the line.

Senegalese forward Baba Diawara made his debut against Gamba and could be another option for Amor, while another new signing Eli Babalj has yet to be included in Adelaide's squad since rejoining the club in early February.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

James Troisi. The 28-year-old's impressive form has him tipped to be included in Ange Postecoglou's squad for the Socceroos' World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates in March.

FORM LINES (all competitions)

Melbourne Victory: LLWDW

Adelaide United: DLLWL

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 3-0 Adelaide United

More: Adelaide struggled with 'very sharp' Gamba - Garuccio | A-League Golden Boot: Will anyone catch Berisha?

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