The eyes of Australian football will be on AAMI Park on Saturday night as the season’s first piece of silverware goes up for grabs. Can Glory make up for the disappointment of last year or will Victory complete an incredible calendar-year treble?
Cup final fever hits Melbourne on Saturday night as entertainers Melbourne Victory host Kenny Lowe’s posse form Perth in what looms as an intriguing clash of styles in the Westfield FFA Cup decider.
It’s the Hyundai A-League champions of last season against a Glory side desperate for FFA Cup redemption following last year’s final loss to the Reds in Adelaide.
AAMI Park is sure to be rocking once again.
With Kevin Muscat’s passion driving them forward, you can be sure they will be hungry to add another trophy to their already bulging cabinet.
If Hyundai A-League form is an indication of what to expect on Saturday night then the home side deserve warm favouritism.
Victory dismantled Wellington Phoenix on Monday night and have a squad loaded with big-game talent. Leading the way is striker Besart Berisha.
The Albanian, who put two away in the win over Phoenix, has scored in every round of the Cup this year and has a knack of producing in finals.
You wouldn’t bet against him doing it again and even winning the prestigious Viduka Medal for the best player of the final.
But Berisha isn’t alone as a threat. The likes of Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler and Oliver Bozanic have been in ripping form while Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Matthieu Delpierre, Carl Valeri and former Glory man Danny Vukovic ooze class and experience.
There’s no doubt a huge challenge awaits Glory. But the warriors from the west have shown they deserve the tag of ‘Cup Kings’.
It’s a second straight final for Perth and while disappointed to be overlooked for a home game again, they are sure to use the snub as motivation.
They thrive on the underdog tag and ‘us-against-them’ (#westvrest) mentality and any side coached by Lowe will always display 100 percent fight and commitment.
Much will depend on what kind of team they can put out with imports Diego Castro and Gyorgy Sandor, and youngsters Chris Harold and Mitch Oxborrow under injury clouds.
Glory will need their experienced crop like skipper Richie Garcia, Michael Thwaite, Dino Djulbic and Ante Covic to deliver and guide them through.
Can Glory deny Victory a famous treble or will home side be enjoying another AAMI Park celebration on Saturday night?
WHAT THEY SAY
Kevin Muscat (Melbourne Victory coach) “It's a trophy. Every team that went out, one by one, wanted to dismiss the cup, but make no mistake, everyone wanted to win it from the outset. I went on record and said we wanted to win it. So I would have been disappointed if we went out."
Josh Risdon (Perth Glory defender) “We’ve done really well in the Cup this season and coming runners up hurt and we realised how much it hurt and how much we want it. It’s massive for the club and massive for the boys as the season rolls on.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
League: Hyundai A-League
Current ladder position: Fourth in the Hyundai A-League
Latest result: Beat Wellington Phoenix 3-0 in the A-League on Monday night
Who to watch out for: Besart Berisha
Official site: www.melbournevictory.com.au
League: Hyundai A-League
Current ladder position: Eighth in the Hyundai A-League
Latest result: Lost 1-0 away to Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday
Who to watch out for: Richard Garcia
Official site: www.perthglory.com.au