Bouncebackability. It’s a word that has entered the vast lexicon of the football dictionary and one that’s immediately relevant to Canberra United as they head south to Victoria and a fixture with Melbourne Victory this weekend.
Two defeats in succession have left United playing catch-up and, with the Victory two points above the team from then national capital heading into this Round, the result of this contest could have a major bearing on the respective campaigns, even at this early stage of the Liberty A-League season.
United will look back at the loss to Victory’s City rivals and perhaps ponder the chances that went begging in the first stanza. The old adage that ‘goals change games’ particularly relevant as Melbourne City hit the front following a brace of openings for United’s usually reliable strike-force.
The historical tale of the tape shows Canberra having only won on three of thirteen visits to Melbourne to play Victory, the last of these being a 2-1 success on 28 December 2016. Since that the match the pair have met seven times, United winning the game after by 5-1 but not securing three points in the following half-a-dozen encounters.
That four of those matches have ended in draws, and that the overall record between the clubs sees United with nine wins, to Victory’s eight, and seven draws, with United coring 30m and Victory 28, tells you all you need to know about one of the closest rivalries in the competition.
Victory began this campaign with a brace of defeats but have recovered well to win their last three, scoring nine goals in the process as they defeated Wellington Phoenix (1-0), Perth Glory (3-0) and Newcastle Jets (5-2).
United though are searching for some consistency. There have been bright moments in each of their matches and Head Coach Njegosh Popovich will no doubt have been pleased with some of the things he has seen so far in 2022/2023. Finding those on a more regular basis is key for this young side.
Saturday 31 December 2022
Melbourne Victory v Canberra United
(CB Smith Reserve, 15:00)
Live streaming on Paramount+ and 10Play