15 October 2014 06:31
Melbourne Victory’s A-League title credentials face a test with a trip to Adelaide, while the Sydney derby takes centre stage on Saturday.
Kevin Muscat’s Victory thrashed AFC Champions League finalists Western Sydney Wanderers 4-1 in round one, highlighting just how dangerous they will be this season.
Marquee signing Besart Berisha made a bright start to life at the club, scoring a penalty and setting up a goal in the resounding win.
But Josep Gombau’s Adelaide, arguably Victory’s fiercest rivals, were impressive in a 2-1 victory against defending champions Brisbane Roar.
A huge crowd is expected at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval as both teams look to make it two wins from as many outings.
Both teams will be keen to keep possession and press, much like Adelaide’s clash against Brisbane.
Victory’s potent attack of Berisha, Gui Finkler, Archie Thompson and Kosta Barbarouses gives them an edge, even away from home on Friday.
The Wanderers have a chance to bounce back from their heavy loss when they make the trip to Allianz Stadium to face Sydney FC.
Tony Popovic has strengthened his squad with the signing of attacker Nikita Rukavytsya, who returns to Australia after a spell at Mainz in Germany.
Rukavytsya signed a one-year deal and arrived on Wednesday, and the 27-year-old is eager to make his debut.
“It’s a big game and I always want to be involved in these games,” he said.
“That’s why I play football to play as much as possible. I heard [the derby] is pretty big and a lot of people are coming, about 40,000 come to the games and obviously it’s a Sydney derby so it must be big.”
Sydney were denied by David Villa in the opening round, with Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer equalising for Melbourne City in a 1-1 draw.
Villa came off the bench in round one, but he could start when he makes his home debut for City in their clash against Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Central Coast Mariners are looking for their second straight win when they host Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.
Brisbane Roar travel to Perth Glory on Sunday, with the hosts looking to build on their victory over Phoenix last time out.