MX23RW : Monday, May 17 22:25:20| >> :120:28697:28697:
Apr 10, 2021 at 8.05am UK at Sydney Football Stadium
Sydney FCSydney FC
1-1
Melbourne CityMelbourne City
Barbarouses (54')
Retre (29'), Barbarouses (65')
FT(HT: 0-0)
MacLaren (90+8' pen.)
Berenguer (37')

Preview: Sydney FC vs. Melbourne City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Australian A-League clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Defending champions Sydney FC will seek a third consecutive A-League win on Saturday, as they welcome rivals Melbourne City to the Leichhardt Oval.

The visitors arrive just three points off the top of the table - still with two games in hand on the leaders - and hope to gain a measure of revenge for their Grand Final defeat to the hosts last August.


Match preview

Sydney FC players pictured in November 2020© Reuters

After picking up an underwhelming single point from their final two games of March, Sydney FC recorded a dominant 3-0 victory over basement side Melbourne Victory to start this month and followed up with another win in midweek.

The Sky Blues became the first club to record 200 wins in the A-League on Wednesday, as they edged to a 1-0 home win over Perth Glory thanks to Kiwi striker Kosta Barbarouses slipping a shot under visiting goalkeeper Liam Reddy early in the second half.

The match ended in bizarre circumstances, with some of the lights going out as lightning strikes occurred nearby. Under A-League rules, though, the result stood - despite the game prematurely concluding a minute before full time.

Sydney have now lost just one of their last six matches, having previously struggled to replicate last year's exceptional form at the start of the current campaign. The reigning champions sit fourth in the tightly-packed standings, but must surely unlock their goalscoring potential if they are to keep pace with the sides above them.

Nonetheless, head coach Steve Corica has based his approach this term on keeping the back door shut and no other side has conceded as few as the 13 that his Sydney team have shipped so far this season. That is just as well, because this weekend's visitors are the league's highest scorers, despite having played fewer games than most of the other top sides.

Until a setback on Saturday, Melbourne City had won six games in a row - the last five of which were by a margin of at least two goals. Away at mid-table Western United though, Patrick Kisnorbo's men fell to an unexpected 2-1 defeat and missed out on the opportunity to inch closer to Central Coast Mariners at the top.

City then travelled to the Sky Stadium on Monday, to meet Wellington Phoenix, and promptly returned to winning ways with a thrilling 3-2 victory, secured only in the 83rd minute by substitute Marco Tilio's strike.

In fact, it was Corica's substitutions which effectively decided a competitive affair, as not only did Tilio head home the winner, but young Stefan Colakovski provided some decisive interventions off the bench.

That bounce-back success lifted the Victorian outfit to within three points of top spot with two games in hand, so confidence will be high as they now face a serious test of their credentials in New South Wales.

Finding the net has not proved a problem for the City Group-owned side, as after notching his team's second goal last time out, in-form Australia striker Jamie Maclaren has directly contributed to at least one goal in each of his last nine appearances.

With the former Hibernian and Darmstadt forward having netted 13 times in 14 games so far, Sydney's well-drilled defence will certainly have to be on their toes to keep him at bay on Saturday.

Sydney FC Australian A-League form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Melbourne City Australian A-League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W



Team News

Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Sydney's Adam Pavlesic was involved in a gruesome clash of heads in the AFC Champions League back in December and remains out of action. Trent Buhagiar (knee) and Christopher Zuvela (also knee) are injured too and will be unavailable on Saturday.

Experienced left-back Michael Zullo has a calf problem, so Joel King should continue to deputise in Steve Corica's back four.

In midweek, youngsters Jordi Swibel and Callum Talbot were promoted to an otherwise unchanged squad by the former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder and could feature from the bench. Meanwhile, veteran striker Bobo will lead the line alongside midweek match-winner Kosta Barbarouses, having scored twice in his last four games.

Melbourne City midfielder Aiden O'Neill remains sidelined with a back injury and has not featured for the visitors since January, while defender Nathaniel Atkinson suffered a high-grade hamstring injury in the first half of Monday's game, which will keep him sidelined for at least the next two months. Full-back Scott Galloway should therefore step into the first XI.

Rostyn Griffiths has been one of City's most reliable performers so far and has settled back into a midfield role after being deployed at centre-back for much of the season, so will again join Florin Berenguer and Connor Metcalfe in the engine room.

Sydney FC possible starting lineup:
Redmayne; King, McGowan, Wilkinson, Grant; Brattan, Baumjohann, Ninkovic, Retre; Barbarouses, Bobo

Melbourne City possible starting lineup:
Glover; Garuccio, Good, Reis, Galloway; Griffiths, Metcalfe, Berenguer; Noone, Nabbout, Maclaren


SM words green background

We say: Sydney FC 1-1 Melbourne City

Having turned over the Sky Blues at AAMI Park earlier in the season, City are certainly in with a chance of pulling off another success on Saturday, with the visitors' scoring power potentially proving enough to breach Sydney's watertight defence.

The hosts, however, have returned to form in recent weeks and can take another useful point against one of their key rivals this season.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Sydney FC vs Melbourne City

Sydney FC
54.5%
Draw
18.2%
Melbourne City
27.3%
22
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