Melbourne City FC will look to return to winning ways with a crucial three points against Newcastle Jets on Sunday. We provide a rundown of the latest team news, quotes and key statistics ahead of the clash at Hunter Stadium.
As we approach the business end of the regular season, Sunday’s match-up looms as an important contest for both sides, albeit for very different reasons.
For City, three points at Hunter Stadium is an absolute must if the Club is to remain within striking distance of league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers – who defeated John van’t Schip’s side 4-3 in a contest for the ages at Pirtek Stadium last week.
Meanwhile for Newcastle, a win will breathe life into a late surge towards a Hyundai A-League finals berth. The Jets have only recorded a solitary win from the last 13 matches – a 3-1 victory over Wellington in Round 15 – but Scott Miller’s side will look to build upon a solid showing in a narrow 1-0 loss to Adelaide last week.
Head to Head
Hunter Stadium has recently proven to be a happy hunting ground for City, with a brace each to Bruno Fornaroli and Aaron Mooy firing John van’t Schip’s side to a commanding 4-0 win in the last meeting between the two sides in Round 10.
A 3-2 reverse against Newcastle at AAMI Park in October means that both teams head into Sunday’s clash with an even head-to-head record this season, despite the form scales being tipped heavily in City’s favour.
A fixture notorious for producing goals, you can expect the back of the net to be rippled on several occasions. There has never been a scoreless match between City and Newcastle, and only one contest where fewer than two goals have been scored.
City midfielder Anthony Caceres will miss the trip to Hunter Stadium after picking up two yellow cards against Western Sydney last week, while Erik Paartalu has left the Club to pursue an opportunity in the Korean K-League.
Captain Patrick Kisnorbo has been cleared to play following an Achilles scare last week against the Wanderers, while Wade Dekker, Jason Trifiro and Steve Kuzmanovski are included in the extended match day squad.
Newcastle will be boosted by the return of captain Nigel Boogaard from suspension, while Radovan Pavicevic is also promoted to the extended squad. New signings Steven Ugarkovic and Morten Nordstrand are in line to make their home debuts for the Jets at Hunter Stadium.
From the change room
“We’ve only lost two in the last ten matches, so the results are coming and we’ll work hard every week to strengthen our weaknesses, because there is always room for improvement.” – City defender Ivan Franjic.
“We still have ten games to go, so if we can build on the performance last week, hopefully get a few results and then the next few months will be even better.” – Jets defender Daniel Mullen.
Thomas Sorensen vs Mark Birighitti
The Great Dane has been a marvel of consistency in between the posts for City during his maiden A-League campaign, leading the competition for saves made with 77 and often coming to City’s rescue with a number of key saves.
At the other end, Jets stopper Birighitti has been a shining light in an otherwise gloomy period of form for his side, but is now faced with the daunting task of repelling the threat of in-form City attackers Bruno Fornaroli, Harry Novillo and Aaron Mooy.
With both sides finding clean sheets difficult to come by this season, the result of the contest may hinge on the performances of two of the season’s most outstanding goalkeepers.
Jets striker Milos Trifunovic has enjoyed a fine start to his Hyundai A-League career and is the Jets top scorer with six goals for the season – including a brace in the thrilling 3-2 win over City in Round 4.
The Serbian will provide the threat in attack for the Jets alongside ex-Danish international Morten Nordstrand, who will hope to provide Newcastle with a more potent threat in the final third on his home debut.
- Newcastle has conceded 12 goals in their last five home Hyundai A-League matches, scoring just four of their own over the same period.
- Melbourne City’s last away Hyundai A-League win came in a 4-0 defeat of the Newcastle Jets in Round 10. Since then, John van’t Schip’s side have lost twice and drawn once.
- Sunday’s clash pits the team to have made the most shots – Melbourne City (209) – against the team with the fewest shots – Newcastle Jets (112) – in the Hyundai A-League this season
- Melbourne City have scored the first goal in the last four matches between the two clubs.
- City striker Bruno Fornaroli has scored more goals (14) than the entire Newcastle Jets squad combined (13).
How to Follow the Match
Sunday’s clash at Hunter Stadium kicks off at 5:00pm AEST and is live on Fox Sports 505. You can follow all the match action live on Twitter @MelbourneCity, or by using the match hashtag:#NEWvMCY