Match Preview: Popovic relishing tough test as City rivalry is renewed


Tony Popovic is relishing the prospect of seeing his Glory side continue their recent rivalry with Melbourne City when the two sides lock horns at HBF Park on Sunday (kick-off at 3pm, tickets HERE).


Glory will replace the Victorians in second spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder should they emerge with three points from the Round 22 clash and the Head Coach is quietly confident that, aided by a vociferous home crowd, they can do exactly that.

“It’s a big game,” he said.

“I think we’ve shown through the years and especially through this great run that we’ve had, that we treat every game as a big game and that’s why we had that great run of ten matches without defeat.

“When you look at it, it’s the business end of the season, Melbourne City is having a very good year and we’re right up there with them.

“They [City] have been around that second place all year. They have high expectations and so far this year, they’re managing those expectations very well.

“We feel that Melbourne City has always been a good side and one that you have to be wary of and one that has some very dynamic, very good individuals.

“We’ve had two good matches against them, tough encounters and we expect this one to be no different.

We’re at home where we haven’t been for quite a while, so we’re happy to be back in Perth and the players are really excited about this match.

“We’re very happy to be back at home and have our home support behind us, who have been deprived of football for a little while now.

“Hopefully they’ll come out in big numbers and really get behind the team which should help us throughout the match.”

Popovic went on to insist that Glory’s defeat at the hands of Newcastle Jets last weekend, their first in the Hyundai A-League since late November, needs to be kept in perspective.

“There’s not too much to worry about,” he said.

“The key component is that we’re creating chances and when we’re doing that, we always feel that we can beat anyone.

“That hasn’t changed. The chances are still there.

“Brisbane is a tough trip with the conditions and the heavy pitch and it’s the same in Newcastle.

“We dominated both matches in the first half against two in-form teams which shows how well we’re going, but I feel we didn’t get enough reward for those two games.

“So the football needs to continue and we just need to be a bit more clinical when we get those chances.”

In terms of early team news, defender Greg Wuthrich returns to selection contention for Glory this week, leaving long-term absentees Dino Djulbic and Chris Ikonomidis as the only senior players unavailable.

City, meanwhile, have included exciting young attackers Ramy Najjarine and Stefan Colakovski in their extended squad.

The visitors have failed to score in four of their last five meetings with Glory and have lost on nine of their 11 most recent visits to HBF Park. 

Match Details

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Perth Glory v Melbourne City FC

HBF Park, Perth

Kick-Off: 3:00pm (Local) (6:00pm (AEDT))

Referee: Kurt Ams

Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella

Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvMCY

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Jacob TRATT, 4.Greg WUTHRICH, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 12.Kim SOO-BEOM, 13.Osama MALIK, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 18.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 29.Kristian POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Greg WUTHRICH (promoted), 13.Osama MALIK (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Dino DJULBIC (ankle – indefinite), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – season)

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 3.Scott JAMIESON (c), 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 14.Markel SUSAETA, 17.Denis GENREAU, 19.Lachlan WALES, 20.Adrian LUNA, 21.Ramy NAJJARINE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 23.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 30.Moudi NAJJAR, 34.Connor METCALFE, 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI

**2-4 to be omitted**

 Ins:  21.Ramy NAJJARINE (promoted), 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI (promoted)

Outs: nil

Unavailable: 5.Jack HENDRY (knee), 40.Richard WINDBICHLER (hamstring)