Roar coach Mike Mulvey is tipping a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash as Brisbane aim to grab the A-League premiership by ending Melbourne Victory’s resurgence
Melbourne Victory are revelling in their ongoing role as underdogs and are primed to spoil the Brisbane Roar’s premiership party on Saturday night.
The Roar will be handed the A-League’s premier’s plate in front of their home fans with a win over a energy-sapped Victory outfit at Suncorp Stadium.
With a nine-point lead and four rounds remaining, Victory coach Kevin Muscat feels “they’ve almost been given the trophy” already.
But Muscat says a fifth game in 16 days won’t deter his rejuvenated second-placed side as they look for a fourth straight win.
Tuesday night’s 1-0 Asian Champions League upset over Japanese club Yokohama displayed their dogged fighting spirit which has Roar coach Mike Mulvey on guard for a “blockbuster” clash.
“It’s going to be difficult but it’s a challenge we’re relishing,” Muscat said.
“Each game that has gone on this period, you get written off a little bit more.
“We’ll go into the game tomorrow night as positive as we have in the last four with no one giving us a chance, with a lot of sore bodies, but with a real determination within the football club to do well and prove everyone wrong.”
Brisbane have their own concerns.
The Roar must rely on a patched-up defensive line to provide their platform for the three points, while also missing suspended star striker Besart Berisha.
The continued absence of Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic (ankle) and veteran centre-back Jade North (groin), as well as the loss of youngsters James Donachie and Corey Brown (appendicitis) has forced Mulvey to improvise.
Shane Stefanutto has been moved to central defence with skipper Matt smith while former Victory midfielder Diogo Ferreira will also play out of position at left fullback.
But the last time Ferreira lined up in defence, the Roar produced a stellar display at AAMI Park to blow Melbourne away 3-0.
“That was a thoroughbred performance,” Mulvey said.
“We were really on song that day. It was a very good football game for 35 minutes and we just managed to get on top in the second half.”
Matt McKay starred and finished one of Brisbane’s superb team goals that night and will again be one of the danger men when he lines up for his 150th A-League match on Saturday night.
With captain Mark Milligan and fellow Socceroo Tom Rogic given a chance to freshen up on the bench against Yokohama, Muscat promised his side would take the game to the Roar.
“We’ll be real aggressive in the way we want to attack that game,” he said.