A-League: Victory and City ready for crucial Melbourne derby

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL

Having overcome the “emotion” and uncertainty surrounding players’ futures, both Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City are confident they won’t be burdened by sentiment and doubt in Sunday’s A-League elimination final derby.

Depending on the result of the do-or-die affair at AAMI Park, retiring stalwart Leigh Broxham might be seen for the last time in a Victory, while overseas-bound City stars Jamie Maclaren and Curtis Good could be playing their last A-League match.

Victory coach Tony Popovic admitted the build-up to his side’s 4-3 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend had an unusual feeling following the announcement that Broxham was hanging up his boots.

“There was a lot of emotion obviously with ‘Broxy’ and a few other things that we were preparing for that week, but this week is certainly different,” Popovic said.

“You can see it in their eyes, you can see it in training. It’s a game they can’t wait to play in.

“We accept what happened (against the Wanderers). We know we need to improve on that and have full focus for the entire game.

“We realise that when you drop off slightly, even 10 per cent, you can get punished.”

City coach Aurelio Vidmar is pleased this side can concentrate on its finals campaign now that speculation about the futures of defender Good and particularly captain Maclaren have been put to following midweek announcements that they will be leaving the club to “pursue overseas opportunities”.

“It’s obviously easier when it’s all out in the open,” Vidmar said.

“No-one really knew (about Maclaren’s future). Was he staying? Was he going? Has he got something overseas? Has he got something at another A-League club? No-one really knew except him.

“I stayed out of it, and let him deal with that side of things. He had a spell when he was on the bench, but when he came back he was close to back to normal.

“He’s scored a couple of goals … he’s more relaxed and more calm, and when you’re like that, your game goes to another level. You’re able to play automatically without having a lot of baggage in the back of your mind, and that helps.”

Vidmar will want the clarity to help City “control” the derby.

“We know we’re going to have a fair bit of the ball but we need to do that better, and control the game for closer to 90 (minutes) than we did in the last game,” he said in reflecting on last month’s battle between the teams that ended in a 2-1 win to the Victory.

Popovic said his Victory outfit was “prepared and willing to accept” that Sunday’s battle might need extra-time and a penalty shootout to find a winner.

“You have to be ready for it. That’s the situation we’re in,” he said.

“We respect them and we know they have some fantastic players, but so do we, and we’ll be ready for the game.”

A-League Elimination Final

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City

Sunday, AAMI Park, 5pm (AEST)

Referee: Alex King

Read related topics:Melbourne

Leave a Comment