Melbourne teams jostle for ALM premiership

·2-min read

The A-League Men regular season is set for a thrilling conclusion, with Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United all capable of claiming the premiership in the final round.

City's shock 2-0 loss to Perth Glory on Wednesday night, after United had drawn 1-1 with Newcastle, opened the door for both Western and Victory.

The reigning champions would have claimed their second consecutive premiers plate with a victory over the wooden spooners.

Instead, City are on 46 points with a goal difference of +21, ahead of Victory (45 points, +14) and United (45 points, +11).

"Look, the positive is that we have control," coach Patrick Kisnorbo said.

"Our destiny is in our own hands.

"Time will tell but we're going to start preparing because we know on Monday it's a big game."

Given City's superior goal difference, Victory and United have to win their final games to have a chance at claiming the premiership.

Victory have achieved that three times, most recently in 2014-15 while United are eyeing their maiden piece of silverware.

Tony Popovic's Victory will be the first cab off the rank in the final round, taking on Sydney FC away on Saturday.

They would have to reverse their recent trend against the Sky Blues, who have won eight of their past nine clashes, gone unbeaten in that time and haven't lost to Victory since January 2019.

United then play Adelaide away on Sunday before City host Wellington on Monday night at AAMI Park.

City will be without Curtis Good, who received a second yellow card in the 94th minute of Wednesday's loss.

A top-two spot and a week off in the first week of finals is also on the line, with United opening the door for Victory after dropping five of six points in their past two games.

Coach John Aloisi, who completed his press conference as City were losing to Perth, stressed United needed to quickly move forward.

"(We) turn the focus really quickly and making sure the boys still know that the way we perform, we keep on performing like that , that will give us results," he said.

"We turn our focus, we make sure we're ready for the Adelaide game, which we know down in Adelaide is never an easy game

"We'll know what result we need against Adelaide because Victory play on Saturday night, so we'll see how that all pans out.

"But at the moment it's quickly recover, making sure the boys are ready for their recovery and are ready to play on Sunday."

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