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Australian Football: Melbourne derby to resume

Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory are set to go head-to-head on Wednesday, 110 days after the original game was abandoned after just 21 minutes.

A pitch invasion brought an end to the game with City leading 1-0 at the time. Rather than the game being completely replayed, it will resume on 22 minutes with City still leading 1-0.

The game will begin at the exact spot were it was abandoned with a drop ball back to City goalkeeper Tom Glover. Both teams can and will make changes to their starting line-ups.

A lot has changed since that day. Players have moved on and the form of the two sides is very different. One thing has not changed, both sides will be desperate for the win.

As well as local pride and bragging rights, both sides are fighting a battle at either end of the ladder and the outcome of the game could have big repercussions for the remainder of the season.

It is a game the whole of the A-League will be watching on Wednesday evening. With kick-off fast approaching, let’s take a closer look at both sides.

What:Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory
Where:AAMI Park, Melbourne
When:20:00 (AEST) Wednesday 5th April, 2023
How to watch:Paramount+

City need to stop the rot

Melbourne City have hit a bad run of form at just the wrong time with finals fast approaching and they need to get back on track. They still sit top of the ladder and are two points clear of Adelaide United. 

They have the chance to open that gap up to five points by beating Victory on Wednesday. And you get the feeling they will need that cushion. Adelaide United are the stand-out team in the A-League at the moment and there is no stopping them. 

The situation does remain in City’s hands though and they are still priced at 1.05 to win the minor premiership, with Adelaide 11.00

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City have been held to draws by Macarthur and Newcastle in their last two games and before that they were struggling to string back-to-back wins together.

They are unbeaten at home this season and the fact they are already 1-0 up in this game will give them a great chance of remaining that way. But it is the three points they really need.

Boss Rado Vidosic has been handed a boost with the news that Scott Jamieson will be available despite being sent off against Newcastle. Because the Victory game was started but not completed, the FA have cleared the way for the City skipper to start and he will serve his one-match ban in the next game.

It is not all good news though as Portuguese defender Nuno Reis is missing through injury. Socceroos forward Mathew Leckie has a hamstring problem, while Richard van der Venne and Arion Sulemani are also in the treatment room.

Victory target top six

Melbourne Victory are in much better shape than they were 110 days ago, coach Tony Popovic has admitted as much. The Victory boss admits he was struggling to put a side out back then and some of the players that were in the side that day were not match-fit.

Since then they have added a number of new players with Fernando Romero, Damien Da Silva, Connor Chapman and Bruce Kamau all arriving.

Romero will return from suspension and will be able to take his place in the side, while defender Jason Geria should recover from soreness. Nani (ACL tear) and Jake Brimmer (meniscus) are both out injured, while striker Nick D'Agostino has since moved on to Norway.

Popovic will still be feeling a whole lot better about his side even though they have the 1-0 deficit to overturn. All of a sudden Victory are starting to find some form and there is a chance they can still force their way into the top six and play finals.

If they can come back and win their game in hand on the sides around them, they will move to within one point of Sydney FC, who occupy the sixth and final play-off spot.

Following back-to-back wins over Central Coast Mariners and Western United confidence should be sky high and a third on the bounce is not out of the question if they get off to a good start. Victory are priced at 9.00 to make the top six.

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