Canberra United head South this weekend to tackle Melbourne Victory in Round 8 of the Liberty A-League bang full of confidence and seeking to move further up the league table, building on the positivity generated last weekend.
The 5-1 thrashing of Brisbane Roar may be the catalyst that ignites Canberra’s push towards the top six, and potential finals football, the team continuing with their impressive goalscoring feats but also significantly tightening up in the defensive third of the pitch.
Only Melbourne City (16) have scored more goals that Canberra’s fifteen this season, however Melbourne Victory have a high-class defensive unit that has only shipped nine in the current campaign, a record that Njegosh Popovich’s troops will be keen to increase at AAMI Park.
Vesna Milivojevic bagged a hat-trick last weekend, the first Canberra player who’s not Michelle Heyman to achieve that feat since Norwegian international Elise Thorsnes achieved a treble against Adelaide United in 2018. The Serbian now has eight goals in five matches this season.
Departing with a knock to the knee last weekend, there remains doubt over the involvement of Milivojevic in Melbourne, with the United faithful hoping that the in-form and inspirational attacker will be available to continue the devastating form that she has shown so far.
New signing Sarah Clark is available for selection, the American defender announced by the club on Thursday morning having joined from North Carolina Courage for the remainder of the 2023/24 journey.
Canberra have a horrid recent record against Victory, having not claimed a win against the Victorians since January 2017, a run of eight matches. There have though been five draws in that sequence of matches, highlighting just how tight fixtures between these two clubs have been over the years.
Indeed, in twenty-six clashes, both teams have won nine with the other eight fixtures ending in a stalemate with only half-a-dozen games in history being decided by more than one goal. That would suggest that this weekend will be no different. A goal-hungry Canberra may disagree.
Saturday 16 December 2023
Melbourne Victory v Canberra United
(AAMI Park, 17:00)
LIVE ON 10PLAY AND PARAMOUNT+