The 23rd Melbourne Derby on Saturday night promises to be the highlight of Rd 2 of the A-League this weekend. The match will feature an influx of international talent including Mark Milligan, Kostas Barbarouses and James Troisi for Victory while Tim Cahill returns to the City squad.
Despite missing several key players last week, Melbourne Victory put in a strong showing in their 1-0 loss against reigning champions Sydney FC. Debutante Leroy George impressed in attack for Victory.
For City, new coach Warren Joyce and new signing striker Ross McCormack enjoyed a winning start in last week’s 2-0 win over Brisbane thanks to a Bruce Kamau brace. It remains to be seen how City can adjust without Bruno Fornaroli leading the line with the striker expected to be out at least until December.
The derby kicks off at Etihad Stadium at 7.50 pm.
Other Rd 2 matches this weekend include:
Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners, Sat 14 Oct, 5.35 pm, Spotless Stadium
The Wanderers’ opening round win over Perth last week will have buoyed fans following the shock departure of former coach Tony Popovic on the eve of the season. Interim coach Haydn Foxe has the chance to back that up with a second win when the Wanderers host the Mariners who last week showed how it was possible to dominate possession yet be dominated on the scoreboard losing 5-1 to the Jets in a disappointing derby result for Okon’s players. Okon lamented the Mariners’ final pass and his team conceding second balls when the Jets played it direct. Andrew Hoole returns for the Mariners whilst WSW will welcome Socceroo Josh Risdon back from international duty.
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory, Sun 15 Oct, 5.00 pm, McDonald James Stadium
Although they haven’t beaten Glory at home since 2011, the Jets under new coach Ernie Merricks will go into the match full of confidence with a potent spearhead in Roy O’Donovan who marked his debut last week against his former club with a hat-trick. Venezuelan international midfielder Ronald Vargas was another impressive debutante who had the Jets fans excited with his quality on the ball. With Diego Castro on the park for Perth Glory, there will be plenty of Latin flair for the fans to enjoy in this match.
Despite losing their opening match of the season 2-1 against WSW, Glory coach Ken Lowe was heartened by the second half performance of this team as they fought back from a 2-0 deficit. They went close to grabbing a point after striker Adam Taggart twice hit the woodwork.
Glory has signed defender Jeremy Walker and midfielder Mitch Mallia from the NPL as injury replacements to their squad.
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix, Sun 15 Oct, 7.00 pm, Allianz Stadium
It’s difficult to see Phoenix causing an upset against reigning champion Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium especially as the reigning champions have begun the season in confident fashion with a 1-0 away win over arch rival Melbourne Victory and progressed into the FFA Cup final with a midweek semi-final win against South Melbourne FC.
Phoenix, under new coach Danje Kalezic, fielded seven debutantes and settled for a 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United last week. They will be boosted by the return of experienced quartet Gui Finkler (from injury), and Kiwi internationals Michael McGinchey, Thomas Doyle, and skipper Andrew Durante.