Victory eye shot up A-League ladder

Dec 7, 2017 - 12:56 AM The top four has seemed a world away for underperforming A-League giants Melbourne Victory this season, but it's the prize on offer this Friday night against Adelaide United.

And on their recent form against their oldest rivals, you'd be tempted to lock it in.

Victory have lost just once in 13 fixtures anywhere against the Reds, and only once at Etihad Stadium in the last decade.

After a season of struggle, Kevin Muscat's side are in a bright mood after their comeback 3-2 win over Wellington last week.

"It was a big challenge for the group," Muscat said of their two-goal escape against the Phoenix.

"We questioned them and asked them to make a decision: Are you going to maintain belief - or, the easiest thing to do at that point in time which was to accept their fate?

"As a group they stood up.

"The care factor was obvious to everyone. Coupled together with the mental side, their attitude and their ability was devastating."

Mark Milligan's availability is another bonus as Victory searches for a first home win this campaign.

But Muscat warned their recent record of domination didn't "guarantee a result".

"In Wellington we created an abundance of chances and opportunities, which is what we are about and how we want to be seen by other teams," he said.

"This week has been a refocus to make sure we reproduce that type of performance. If we do we give ourselves a great chance."

After three games on the road, Victory have just one trip outside Victoria - a visit to John Aloisi's struggling Brisbane - in the next month.

In contrast, United have away days against Victory, Newcastle, Perth and Western Sydney in the same run.

The Reds will be without Karim Matmour, who left the club on compassionate grounds this week, and injured Danish winger Johan Absalonsen.

But Vince Lia is poised to return from a knee injury, for the first time since a double in Adelaide's 2-2 draw with Victory in October.

Ex-City fullbacks Michael Marrone and Ben Garuccio are also available after serving suspensions.


* Victory have a super record against Adelaide, with just one loss in a decade at Etihad Stadium against the Reds.

* But Kevin Muscat's side is drawing blanks at home. They haven't scored more than one in a home fixture since March.

* If Adelaide does triumph, it will be the first time the Reds have managed back-to-back away wins in 20 months.

Source: AAP

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