Official Preview: Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory

It’s a turf war in Melbourne as Heart take on Victory!

Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory
Friday 8th October 7:30pm

It-s a turf war! The atmosphere will be unbelievable for the most anticipated game of the season so far. This historic Melbourne derby is sure to sell out, so grab a ticket now. Don-t miss out!

It-s the one you-ve been waiting for! Now, in order to avoid a clash with the AFL Grand Final replay, you-ve got to wait just a few days longer. Excitement has already reached fever pitch for this inaugural clash between Melbourne-s two sides.

So, as rival fans endure a further week of build-up banter, nerves and tension, the pressure cooker atmosphere at AAMI Park is set to explode when the two teams finally take to the field next Friday night.

As well as boasting what will surely be one of the best atmospheres ever experienced in the Hyundai A-League, Friday-s meeting between Heart and Victory sees history being made before our very eyes. Not only is it the debut derby match between these two teams, but also the first ever Hyundai A-League game between two clubs from the same city.

The North and South Terrace boys find themselves in the strange position of being the away fans in their new home stadium and are therefore sure to make even more noise than normal.

This isn-t just a football match – this is about territory. Heart though, are feeling quite at home at AAMI Park having won their last two games there and will be out to secure a victory against their neighbours to prove that, if the ground belongs to anyone, it-s the stripes. It would certainly be foolish of Victory not to show their closest rivals plenty of respect.

Heart may be the new kids on the block, but they are fast becoming a tough nut to crack on home soil – just ask North Queensland Fury and Wellington Phoenix.

As well as suffering the usual derby nerves, neither team will go into this game bursting with confidence. Heart are still licking their wounds after being taught a lesson by a youthful Brisbane Roar side last weekend, while Victory are having quite the strangest season.

They say all great teams are built on a solid defence, so, as the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season starts to take shape, it should be an ominous sign for the sides at the top end of the ladder that Victory have kept four clean sheets in a row. However, as impressive as this is, such solidity at the back is slightly undermined by the fact that last season-s Grand Finalists have also gone their last three games without finding the net.

It-s a real head-scratcher for Ernie Merrick, as his side display fine approach play but then are unable to make it count when it matters. Even talismanic playmaker Carlos Hernandez can-t find the target. However, against a defence that shipped four goals last weekend, this massive derby clash could be the game in which Victory find their form in front of goal.

It is the start of what is sure to be a long-standing and passionate Melbourne rivalry next Friday night and, with unprecedented noise, passion and intensity in the stands and on the pitch, it will be like nothing that has ever come before in the Hyundai A-League. Will it be the red and white or the navy side of Melbourne that earns bragging rights? You-d be a fool to miss what will be a white-knuckle thriller of a game.

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and FS1 HD and Sky Sport 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 774 ABC (Melbourne), SEN Digital.

Melbourne Heart FC squad: 1. Clint BOLTON, 2. Michael MARRONE, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6. Matt THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM, 9. Gerald SIBON, 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 11. Alex TERRA, 12. Peter ZOIS (GK), 14. Kamal IBRAHIM, 15. John ALOISI, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 18. Ante TOMIC, 20. Josip SKOKO, 21. Kliment TASESKI, 22. Nick KALMAR, 24. Aziz BEHICH, 25. Adrian ZAHRA
*three to be omitted*

In: Michael BEAUCHAMP (returns from suspension), Ante TOMIC (promoted), Kliment TASESKI (promoted), Adrian ZAHRA (new signing)
Out: Simon COLOSIMO (Injury – 1 week), Dean HEFFERNAN (suspension – 1 week)
Unavailable: Kristian SARKIES (Leg – indefinite)

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.RICARDINHO, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21. Robbie KRUSE 23. Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY
*four to be omitted*

In: Petar FRANJIC (on stand-by), Kevin MUSCAT (returns from injury), Mate DUGANDZIC (returns from national team duty), Diogo FERREIRA (returns from national team duty)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee – indefinite), Matthew KEMP (knee – indefinite)