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Australian Football: City to bounce back with a Roar

Melbourne City will be out to bounce back from a rare defeat when they take on Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon, while Wellington Phoenix also entertain Sydney FC in another huge game.

City are not used to losing football matches. Indeed they have only lost three all season, the latest of which came against Adelaide United when they went down 4-2 last week.

In fact they have lost two out of the last three as they also suffered a shock defeat against Melbourne Victory in the big derby clash. It means that City will be very keen to put on a show on Sunday and that could be bad news for Brisbane, who are struggling at the wrong end of the ladder.

In the opening game of the day, the battle to finish in the top six hots up with a game between the Phoenix and Sydney FC. Just one point and one place separate the two sides and this game could have huge ramifications when it comes down to who plays finals at the end of the season.

What:Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
Where:Eden Park, Auckland
When:13:00 (AEST) Sunday 12th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Phoenix 2.70, Draw 3.40, Sydney 2.62

Sunday’s opening encounter is very evenly matched and could go either way as the battle to play finals hots up. The Phoenix will be hoping that home advantage can swing things in their favour and get them the three points.

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The A-League ladder is that tight that both Phoenix and Sydney are still in with a shout of pinching second spot if they can get on a run and other results go their way. Wellington are unbeaten in the last three games, winning two of them.

Those wins came against Newcastle and Western United with a 1-1 draw against Central Coast Mariners sandwiched in between. Sydney are also in good touch and have won three out of the last five. The only blip was a narrow 3-2 loss to Melbourne City but they bounced back well to beat Victory 1-0 in the ‘Big Blue’ last weekend.

Three out of Sydney’s last four games have had two goals or fewer and under 2.5 goals on Sunday can be backed at 2.10. 

There is very little disruption to the Phoenix squad with Noah Karunaratne being promoted to it being the only change from last week. Sydney FC will be without Max Burgess as the midfielder is suspended, while star striker Adam Le Fondre remains in the treatment room with a hamstring injury.

What:Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Where:AAMI Park, Melbourne
When:15:00 (AEST) Sunday 12th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:City 1.45, Draw 4.50, Roar 7.00

Melbourne City will not be panicking after losing their third game of the season last week. They are still six points clear at the top of the ladder and also have a game in hand against their rivals.

That said they will still want to bounce back against Brisbane Roar. With finals approaching now is not the time to hit a sticky patch of form and after losing two of the last three it is important to return to winning ways. They could not ask for a much kinder game to do just that as Brisbane are 10th on the ladder and have won just four games all season.

However Roar have shown already this season that they are more than capable of grinding out results against top sides and they cannot be dismissed in this game. Indeed back on 21st January Brisbane held City to a goalless draw and will be out to keep things tight again.

The Roar defence has been tight all season in fairness and have conceded just 23, the same as Melbourne City. It is scoring goals at the other end that has been the big problem, managing just 17.

Under 2.5 goals in this game can be backed at 2.20.

City will go with the same team as last week with Mathew Leckie still among the injured as he battles with a hamstring issue. Luke Oresti and Kerrin Stokes have been called into the squad. Brisbane will be missing the suspended Jordan Courtney-Perkins, while Robbie Kruse and Joe Knowles are both injured.

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