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A-League Preview: Round 3

Eugene Galekovic, Adelaide United

Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United, Friday, 7.30pm (EDT), Etihad Stadium

One of the biggest rivalries in the A-League comes to Melbourne this Friday night as the Victory take on league leaders Adelaide United. Victory are bottom of the table and reeling after the shock retirement of veteran striker Danny Allsopp. The return of Archie Thompson, Mark Milligan and Marco Rojas from international duty will be welcome as the Victory look for their first win of the season. Marco Flores returns to his former stomping ground and will be out to make amends after the 5-0 thrashing against Brisbane.

Adelaide will be out to continue their excellent start to the season which has seen them rise to the top of the table after two wins on the trot. John Kosmina is confident in his squad, leaving Bruce Djite and Sergio Van Dijk out of the 15-man traveling squad. Dario Vidosic makes the trip after missing the last game against Western Sydney with injury. Iain Fyfe returns to the squad and will add some strength in defence against a Victory attack just waiting to fire. This should be a great game and not to be missed.

Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners, Saturday, 5.30pm (EDT), Hunter Stadium

Newcastle will look to continue their early season form in the F3 Derby against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday. The Jets are coming off a big win against a poor Sydney FC side who never really challenged for the three points. Craig Goodwin, Ryan Griffiths and Emile Heskey will again be the ones to watch.

Central Coast have been solid without being spectacular so far which has seen them sneak under the radar. The current premier plate holders ground out a 1-0 victory over Perth last weekend with substitute Daniel McBreen scoring the winner. Youngster Tom Rogic will again be vital to success for the Mariners who will be looking to climb up the ladder.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC, Saturday, 7.45pm (EDT), Parramatta Stadium

This is the one match that has been penciled into both Sydney FC and Wanderers fans calendars. Officially sold out at the start of the week it will be a hotly contested Sydney Derby. Western Sydney on the back of a decent start to life in the A-League will be eager to get their first goal and first win as a club. With many key players in the side they will surely look to the experience of Shinji Ono and Aaron Mooy up front, Michael Beauchamp and Ante Covic at the back.

Sydney FC have struggled in their opening two games of the season and were outplayed for majority of the match against Newcastle Jets. Alessandro Del Piero is inevitably the player Sydney will look to for their first points of the season. Pascal Bosschaart and Blake Powell were ruled out after picking up injuries on Friday training and it looks as though captain Terry McFlynn could start the game from the bench. There’s a lot to play for here as both sides need three points to get their campaigns off and running.

Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar, Sunday, 2.30pm (EDT), Westpac Stadium

Wellington are back home after a miraculous escape with a point from AAMI park last weekend. The Phoenix missing six players and their coach with international duty were written off by everyone as having no chance against Melbourne Heart. The team of youngsters and old heads managed to stay calm and steal a well deserved point in the end. Paul Ifill continues his return from injury and will need to be at his best against the Roar. The Phoenix defence will have a hard time against a Roar side that put five past Melbourne Victory.

Brisbane were back to their dominating selves at Suncorp Stadium last weekend ruining former coach Ange Postecoglou’s return. Besart Berisha is back to his goal scoring best and midfielder Ben Halloran will be the keys to victory this weekend for Rado’s men. Brisbane haven’t had the best of time when travelling across the ditch and this time will be no different, it will be a close game and interesting game for neutrals.

Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart, Sunday, 5pm (EDT), nib Stadium

Perth Glory had a tough time last start against the Mariners and will be looking to bounce back against the Heart when they meet at the nib Stadium on Sunday. Shane Smeltz will be back for the Glory after international duty. Former Heart player Adrian Zahra has been named in the squad for this first time since his sickening knee injury against Melbourne Victory last season. Liam Miller and Jacob Burns will be the two key men in the middle of the park as the Glory look to dictate the play.
Melbourne Heart come into this game with a good chance to take the three points in their first game outside of Melbourne. They are without Simon Colosimo after he was sent off for a handball against the Phoenix. Aziz Behich will be the one to watch as this speedy left back showed he’s deadly on the counter. Dylan Macallister has started the season well and will look to continue his form as will Matt Thompson and Fred in midfield.

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