Tensions Rise As Big Guns Face Off Again

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com/Michael Klein/Herald Sun
Key Victory forward James Troisi due to find the net. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com/Michael Klein/Herald Sun

Without a win in three matches, Melbourne Victory’s championship credentials will again come under scrutiny in a rescheduled Round 19 clash with the Western Sydney Wanders at AAMI Park on Tuesday night (AEST).

Victory’s form is patchy and the glamour Melbourne club has won just one of five encounters against the Wanderers. Sandwiched between two 1-1 draws, Victory suffered a 3-0 drubbing at home to competition leaders Brisbane Roar. The Dark Blues desperately need maximum points to stay in the running for a top-two finish.

The last time these two sides met, the points were shared after Gui Finkler equalised with a superb late free-kick. But the on-field dramas were over-shadowed by those off the pitch. A wild street brawl erupted between supporters of both sides, with flares, bottles and metals poles used as weapons. Two men were hospitalised and the FFA charged both clubs for bringing the game into disrepute.

With four players on international duty for the Young Socceroos, the Melbourne franchise is fortunate captain Mark Milligan has overcome a knee injury. Adrian Leijer also makes a timely return from suspension, with fellow centre-back Pablo Contreras sitting out the game after picking-up a fifth yellow card. Named in an extended squad, Mitch Nichols is in extreme doubt after suffering a knee injury last Friday night. The Wanderers back-up after a tense 1-0 win over Sydney FC at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night. That local derby success allowed the second-placed Wanderers to close the gap to four points on Roar.

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