The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015
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News Corp Australia
TUESDAY JANUARY 6 2015 SPORT 33 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA VICTORY 4-3-3 Coach: Kevin Muscat Subs: 20 Thomas (gk), 10 Thompson, 11 Pain, 16 Mahazi, 26 Brown WANDERERS 4-3-2-1 Coach: Tony Popovic Subs: 20 Bouzanis (gk), 5 Hamill, 12 Rukavytsya, 15 Perkatis, 16 Sotirio WINDLEY SAYS This will require a backs-tothe-wall effort from Victory. On paper Kevin Muscats men win every time, but the short turnaround and heat during Fridays game against Perth would have taken it out of them. Covic Cole La Rocca Haliti Saba Kalmar Topor-Stanley Poljak Trifiro Bridge Ben Khalfallah Berisha Murnane Ansell Broxham Barbarouses Georgievski ValeriFinkler Makarounas Coe Adeleke WANDERERS v VICTORY Pirtek Stadium, Tonight 7.30pm TAB ODDS: WSW $3.10, Draw $3.30, Victory $2.20 TV: Fox Sports 4 from 7pm RADIO: ABC 774 FORMLINE Wanderers Victory DLLLD LWLDW 1 22 21 9 7 8 14 18 4 6 15 1 2 18 4 22 10 8 33 23 7 19 DRAW 1-1 Muscat looks for Victory rebound THE wider focus might have shifted towards the Socceroos and the Asian Cup but Kevin Muscat says tonights game against winless Western Sydney is huge for Melbourne Victory. The Pirtek Stadium clash is the A-Leagues last before the Asian Cup break. Muscat isnt concerning himself with keeping the gap between his side and Perth as small as possible ahead of the January 25 meeting at nib Stadium. Instead he wants to see his side respond after a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Glory last Friday. Weve not thrown the towel in, make no mistake, Muscat said. Weve lost two games of football this season and the focus is to end the first half of the season on a positive note. So that is to go over there and put in a really good performance and hopefully put some more pressure on Western Sydney. Muscat said his players had recovered well from the Glory game despite having to endure 37-degree heat. But the short turnaround means there will be changes. Adrian Leijer misses anyway after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last week, but Fahid Ben Khalfallah returns from a one-match suspension. Muscat confirmed the Tunisian would come in for Archie Thompson, who wont start tonight due to his heavy workload, while the coach also declared midfielder Rashid Mahazi and defender Daniel Georgievski fit to return from injury. Physically were OK, Muscat said. Theres obviously a few sore bodies and one or two that wont make the game, but people have been waiting for opportunities and thats what its about. A couple more will get their opportunity and hopefully they take it. Muscat also defended the form of winger Kosta Barbarouses, who was given bronx cheers by some fans after being substituted against Perth. One thing is for sure, hes a very talented footballer and he gets a lot of attention, he said. Up until this point hes probably been the best wide player in the competition, so from my perspective theres no pressure whatsoever on him. Hes a very important part to what we do. Ange ponders real options in middle THE players have been left in the dark as the Socceroos coaching staff is locked away in tactical meetings over the next 48 hours to decide their first XI for Fridays Asian Cup opener. And midfield is giving Ange Postecoglou and his lieutenants the biggest headache, as they decide on five players for the final midfield position. With captain Mile Jedinak playing defensive midfield, experienced Mark Bresciano looks set to hold down the second of three midfield spots. But with the Socceroos moving to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation, ditching one of the holding positions to play two advanced midfielder (number eights), the final position is the most hotly contested in the squad. Mark Milligan has held down the position recently for the Socceroos, but Matt McKay, Tommy Oar, James Troisi and Massimo Luongo are all vying for the spot. Ive got some real options and some decisions to make, Postecoglou said. Ive got an idea what that starting 11 looks like for the first game, but theres a couple of guys that may push into it at training. Then during the game Ive got some real options. Training will be a big guide as to who starts on Friday, but the core of the first 11 will be guys whove played in previous games. While Oar has played mostly on the wing, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie look set to fill the wide roles, with the former playing mainly centrally for Dutch side FC Utrecht. But the more adventurous system sees Troisi and Luongo shoot into calculations, though Brisbanes McKay has been a mainstay and will feature. Bresciano said the new formation will suit the Socceroos. It just shows the style of football the coach wants to play, attacking, Bresciano said. Its a good time to change because in the Asian Cup well be hoping to be the team dominating and having most of the possession. That formation might make it easier to break defences down because some teams will park their team behind the line of the ball and try and defend to keep it low scoring. Sydney FCs Terry Antonis is the only one certainly out of contention for Kuwait, but he is almost certain to get minutes at the Asian Cup. Theyre quick turnarounds, theres one less day to recover than the World Cup, and well rotate the squad, Postecoglou said. Troisi, who made two sub appearances at the World Cup, has shone since joining Belgians Zulte Waregem. Thats my best position. In England they stuck me out wide because of my speed but my best position has been central, as a 10, he said. By DAVID DAVUTOVIC THE BATTLE FOR MIDFIELD Five players competing for one midfield position against Kuwait ALL MATCHES LIVE ON DAYS TO GO3 Tickets at afcasiancup.com TOMMY OAR Is playing at the highest level of the five. Although he hasnt scored he has made seven assists in 12 games (only Ajaxs Davy Klaassen, 8, has more). Oar has a point to prove after an underwhelming World Cup and his ability to run at players complements the technical Mark Bresciano. 11 TOMMY OAR AGE: 23 CAPS: 20 GOALS: 1 CLUB: FC Utrecht, NETH STYLE Formerly a winger, his club uses him more centrally and he has adapted well. Is capable of beating players and setting up goals, but it most dangerous from set pieces. 17 MATT McKAY AGE: 31 CAPS: 50 GOALS: 1 CLUB: Brisbane Roar STYLE Mr Reliable. Directness and stamina is perfectly suited to Australias system. His World Cup performance against the Netherlands did wonders for his confidence. 5 MARK MILLIGAN AGE: 29 CAPS: 33 GOALS: 2 CLUB: Melbourne Victory STYLE Started in the World Cup opener against Chile before getting injured. The more attacking formation isnt ideal for Milligan, whose strength is his defensive awareness. 14 JAMES TROISI AGE: 26 CAPS: 16 GOALS: 1 CLUB: Zulte Waregem, BEL STYLE His move to Belgium, where he has scored four goals in 14 games, will fill the lightning quick attacker with confidence. The left footer is more suited to the central role and will get time on the pitch. 21 MASSIMO LUONGO AGE: 22 CAPS: 5 GOALS: 0 CLUB: Swindon Town, ENG STYLE The big bolter since the World Cup, where he made the 23-man squad but didnt play. Is on fire as an attacking midfielder with his club and it has showed in his Socceroos performances since Brazil. TR OI SI M cK AY M IL LI GA N LU ON GO DAVUTOVICS VERDICT By MATT WINDLEY