The Western Sydney Wanderers will go up against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, with both team looking to continue their winning ways. After failing to put Perth Glory to the sword despite opportunities, the team from Sydney is looking to deliver a statement to the rest of the competition.
The Wanderers will travel to Victoria to take on the Victory, in the latter’s first home game of the 2022/23 season.
Melbourne Victory took the game to Sydney FC last week, coming away 3-2 winners. In disastrous rainy conditions, they were able to get away 13 shots, with six of them being on target. With less than 10 minutes to go in regular time, Joshua Brillante sealed the game with a goal.
On the other side of Sydney, the Wanderers failed to take their chances against a depleted Perth Glory. Only able to score one goal, they were lucky to walk away with the win. Now, they are ready to make a statement against the Victory.
“It’s a big game clearly in Melbourne. You know, (the) boys are really chomping at the bit. They can’t wait for this game to get started, everyone’s in great condition,” Wanderers manager Marko Rudan told media.
“I’ve had to sort of stop training a bit early because there was too much energy, you know, and to save that for Saturday night,” he laughed.Embed from Getty Images
With no injuries, they are likely to go with the same set-up. The start of the season is always tough, as the players try to find their form and the coach tries to figure out the right combinations.
Talking on what to improve on from last week, Rudan said passing is the main priority. He continued saying the team needs to find rhythm and rely on their trainings rather than what they are used to.
“[There were] a lot of anxious players out there that were probably doing things that came normal to them rather than what we’ve been working on and building towards throughout pre-season,” he said.
Transferring into the squad this year from Bosnian side Tuzla City, Sulejman Krpić scored in his maiden appearance. It took him until the 79th minute to score after missing easy opportunities in the box. Going for a brace, he was denied from the penalty spot.
Against a tough side this week in Melbourne Victory, he will need to take advantage of every opportunity he is given.
Rudan spoke about his new signing in the lead-up to the game.
“He was disappointed because he knows he could have had a hat-trick in that first game. He works so hard to get himself into those positions and that’s the kind of guy that he is,” the coach said.
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Starting goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas also spoke to media ahead of the clash.
Thomas is returning back to Melbourne to go up against his old team for the first time. After 122 games over nine years with the Victory, he left to join Danish side SønderjyskE.
“[I’ve] got a lot of love and respect for the club. Had an amazing eight, nine years there. So yeah, from my side, nothing but happiness and excitement going back there,” Thomas said.
After two years in Denmark, he has returned back to the A-League Men with the Wanderers. Keeping a clean sheet against, Perth he will not want to concede a goal against his former club.
“You love to put teams on the back foot nice and early. We got a new group here with new Wanderers and very tight group. It will be a very good test for us.”
The Western Sydney Wanderers will take on Melbourne Victory this Saturday night at 7:45pm AEDT.
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