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A-League Rev-Up: Adelaide United to take it up to Melbourne Victory in Original Rivalry

3:30 AM WAT 20/04/2018
Adelaide United
Victory have traditionally had the upper hand in the fixture but the Reds' performances this season suggest they'll be a match

It's A-League elimination final time and there will be no tomorrow for two teams at the conclusion of the weekend.

The City Football juggernaut will be hoping to keep their A-League championship hunt alive on Friday night as Melbourne City welcome a Brisbane Roar outfit, who despite being derided for their average age, have peaked at the business end of the season.

One of the competition's oldest rivalries will renew tensions as Melbourne Victory host Adelaide United in what promises to be a spicy contest on Sunday evening.

Get revved up.


Bookies say Victory, but don't write off Kurz's Reds


It's fair to say Melbourne Victory have had the wood over their bitter state rivals Adelaide United in big matches - winning the 2007 grand final 6-0 and the 2009 edition 1-0.

And Kevin Muscat's team are hot favourites for Sunday's elimination final - paying $1.95 to win with Bet 365, while the Reds are outsiders at $3.80.

But don't expect Adelaide to roll over this time. The Reds have hit form at the right time of the season, winning three of their past four games and scoring 11 goals in the process.

They also impressively defeated Victory 2-1 and coped with being down to nine men at Etihad Stadium in December to prove they can get the job done in Melbourne.

It's true that Victory walloped Adelaide 3-0 in their most recent meeting at AAMI Park in February, but an unfortunate own goal put the home side ahead and the Reds stood no chance once Dzengis Cavusevic was given his marching orders for slapping Rhys Williams.

Danish attacker Johan Absalonsen has returned from injury to hit form at the business end of the season and German midfielder Daniel Adlung has been in superb form across the middle of the park.

The questions for Melbourne Victory is will their defence, that can sometimes be frail, hold up in a knockout final?

Leroy George has singled-handedly won Victory multiple matches this campaign. Will he step up again?

We'll find out on Sunday night.


Can Dad's Army exploit Melbourne City finals frailties?


Melbourne City's third placing in the regular season is their best ever result, but their terrible finals record must be noted, having twice been eliminated at the first knockout stage and also being convincingly beaten twice in the grand final qualifier.

But this City team under Warren Joyce appears to have more of a backbone, with a Bart Schenkeveld-led defence conceding the second-least amount of goals this season.

Before last week's dead rubber loss to Wellington, City had kept three clean sheets in a row, and with Newcastle's recent struggles, Joyce's men look the form team behind Sydney FC.

Brisbane Roar will be looking to use their experience to open up old Heart/City wounds and keep their faint championship dream alive.

John Aloisi's team have won four of their past six matches, hitting form at the right time of the campaign.

Their recovery has been led by a swag of veterans with Brett Holman providing gusto in the attack, Massimo Maccarone applying polish and class while French marquee Eric Bautheac is capable of being a match-winner.

Unfortunately Holman will miss the match through injury but fan favourite Henrique, who has scored three goals in his last three games, looks likely to elevated to the starting line-up and will be keen to punish a City defence if he is given the space.

Are Melbourne City the real deal or will Brisbane Roar's experienced squad keep defying the critics?

Friday night's game should be a cracker.