Victory set for must-win Glory AL clash

Anna Harrington

Ahead of the A-League season, Melbourne Victory's round eight clash with Perth Glory shaped as a must-watch fixture between two potential title contenders.

Now, Friday night's game at AAMI Park has become a must-win for two sides who have drastically underachieved in the opening two months of the season.

Victory are winless in four games and have just one win and five total points from a potential 21 points, while Glory have six points from their first six games.

"It's true we need points to be closer to the first six positions and everybody knows if we get no points it will be a tough season for us and that's (picking up points) our goal," Victory coach Marco Kurz said.

"Now we have the chance to play against a strong opponent.

"They have at the moment similar problems with the points, but we will show that we are better and we will play so good that we have the chance to reach three points."

Kurz said Victory had hit the training track with a renewed intensity after he called for them to get back to basics following a 3-1 loss to Adelaide United.

But while Perth have had their share of difficulties, the likes of Diego Castro, Chris Ikonomidis and former Melbourne City sharpshooter Bruno Fornaroli could give Victory's defence plenty of headaches.

"I think it's not a secret their offence is very dangerous," Kurz said.

"They're very fast and skilful wingers with Ikonomidis and Chianese. A good box striker with Fornaroli; he knows how he wants to use his body in the box. He only needs one to two chances to bring the ball on target.

"And with Castro, he's the heart of the group. Also, Kilkenny is a player who can push from the midfield a lot of pressure on the opponents side."

With Thomas Deng (groin) injured and Tim Hoogland barely returned from a quad injury, Leigh Broxham could be called upon to fill a role in the centre of defence in his 300th A-League game, with Kurz hinting at a potential formation change.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Victory are winless from their past four A-League matches (D1, L3). They haven't endured a longer winless stretch since a seven-match span (D4, L3) from May to November 2017.

* Perth Glory have lost only one of their last 18 A-League matches on the road (W10, D7) and they are undefeated away from home in the 2019/20 campaign (W1, D2).

* Bruno Fornaroli (Perth Glory) has had the most touches in the opposition box (47) of any player in the 2019/20 A-League season so far. Melbourne Victory's best is Elvis Kamsoba (35).

Stats provided by Opta