A-League: Melbourne Victory survive a late charge from Adelaide United to maintain the gap between them and leaders Sydney FC
MELBOURNE Victory captain Carl Valeri says his side must beat Sydney FC in Friday night’s top-of-the-table blockbuster to have any chance of winning the Premier’s Plate.
LATE INTERVENTION: Victory stave off Reds threat
The Sky Blues are eight points clear of Victory with six games to play.
This is the last time the league’s runaway leaders will meet before the finals – Sydney won both previous encounters 2-1.
“Is it the last throw of the dice? Look, if we want to have a crack at the title then we’ve got to win,” Valeri said.
“But it’s not in our hands any more. Sydney has shown consistent form for the whole season and fair credit to them, it’s a great achievement what they’ve done so far and they’re in a great position.
“So our thoughts are, yeah, we need to get the result. But it’s also about putting in a positive performance, just like we did against Adelaide.”
Looking in the other direction of the table, Victory’s 2-1 win over Adelaide on Saturday night coupled with weekend losses by Melbourne City and Brisbane means Kevin Muscat’s side is now 11 points clear of third-placed Perth – which defeated Western Sydney 2-0 on Saturday night.
Victory would have to stop dead to stand any chance of falling out of the top two, meaning a home semi-final – most likely at Etihad Stadium on Friday, April 28 – is all but assured.
But Valeri said he and the club’s coaching staff would be driving the team to continue its charge, regardless of how long the chase for top stays alive.
“It’s important to take form in to the finals,” Valeri said.
“So if you start to become complacent then you don’t deserve to be in the top two.
“Complacency is not something we want to see happen and we’ll be really upset if it starts to creep in to the group.
“But with the way we’ve performed throughout the season I don’t think we’ll see any complacency come in to our actions at all.”
A-League: Melbourne Victory’s press conference following their 2-1 win over Adelaide United.
Victory was a deserved winner on Saturday, but a determined Reds side held out for 65 minutes before Marco Rojas and then Besart Berisha scored.
Valeri said what impressed him most was his team’s composure.
“We didn’t let frustrations come in to it,” he said.
“I seriously think Adelaide is a good team. I still don’t see how they’re on the bottom.
“We just kept going for that first goal and our quality shone through in the end.”