Preview: Melbourne Derby

The clash

The first Melbourne Derby of the season is upon us and like the 22 editions before it, this Saturday’s contest is just as compelling.

Both squads look the most even they have ever been coming into the 2017/18 season and the raft of international stars who will be returning for the contest will be sure to spice things up even more.

City will be the team heading into Saturday’s fixture with the slight upper hand, taking maximum points from their Round 1 encounter with Brisbane Roar. Victory couldn’t get the job done in the Grand Final replay against Sydney FC but will be buoyed from the return of key players like Mark Milligan, James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses.

A second match in Melbourne in consecutive weeks means that City and Victory will be fit and firing for another blockbuster clash in what will be the Club’s 200th A-League match.

Opta Widget: match preview

Team News

When you thought Warren Joyce couldn’t bolster his side from the Round 1 contest with Brisbane, he has. Tim Cahill returns to the mix after his heroics with the Socceroos while Neil Kilkenny will also be up for selection. See our full Team News.

Last time they met

It was a 2-1 win for the enemy in our last outing in February as two goals in three minutes denied us our first clean sweep at Etihad Stadium during a season.

A tense first half saw both sides come out in the second period with plenty of fire as Neil Kilkenny opened the scoring after 70 minutes. His deflected effort found the back of the net to give his side the lead as City asserted control in the contest.

Besart Berisha would be the man to deny City the result, first scoring from a Marco Rojas cutback and then finding the winner under controversial circumstance to secure the result for the Docklands inhabitants.

Opta Widget: opta last time

Stats and facts

  • Warren Joyce will be looking to become the first Melbourne City coach to win his opening two Hyundai A-League games in charge of the club.
  • Saturday night’s game is a milestone for Melbourne City, the club’s 200th game in the Hyundai A-League fixture. It’s their 23rd Melbourne Derby.
  • City gloveman Eugene Galekovic was the only goalkeeper to finish the opening round of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season with a save percentage of 100%.

Opta Widget: opta stats

What was said

City defender Iacopo La Rocca

“I’ve played in the Sydney Derby and I think the Melbourne Debry is just as big of a game,” he said.

“In the derby, you always give a bit more. You don’t need motivation because you know what it means and I’m looking forward to playing in it.

“We want to win every game. We know it’s not going to be easy but if we give it our all, we can get points. We also know what the derby means to the fans as well so we will do it with that as extra motivation.”

Victory forward Besart Berisha

“Derbies are very special, special to me and special to the supporters. Games like this, you have to be ready. It’s a special game. One thing is for sure, we are fit, we are strong and we are very confident going towards this game.”

Where and When

City take on Victory in the 23rd edition of the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium, kick-off 7.50pm. City are back at AAMI Park next Saturday as they face Wellington Phoenix at the earlier time of 5.35pm. Click here to get your tickets to the match.