Preview: Round 23 v Mariners

Melbourne Victory continues its push for a top-three finish in the Hyundai A-League when it hosts the Central Coast Mariners.


Victory returns to league action for the first time since March 2 when it welcomes the Mariners to AAMI Park on Sunday.

Kevin Muscat's men are on a four-match unbeaten run, which has included wins over Adelaide United, City and J1 League champion Kawasaki Frontale.

Victory carries plenty of momentum into the Round 23 Hyundai A-League encounter.

A late goal from Kosta Barbarouses helped Victory past Kawasaki in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday, boosting its chances of progressing from Group F.

Barbarouses has also scored eight league goals, a tally bettered by only Besart Berisha (nine) for Victory this season.

Star Victory winger Leroy George has netted five, while he has contributed 12 assists.

Victory is fourth on the table heading into Round 23, just a point behind third-placed City, while the Mariners are ninth.

Central Coast last beat Victory in Melbourne in November 2009.

Victory has a strong recent record against the Mariners, unbeaten in the fixture in the past 14 meetings between the sides.

Player in focus

Opta Widget: Thomas

What they said

"Personally, I'm very happy. I think these types of things happen when you put the work in off the field and the last month has been the first time this season I've been able to really push the body completely without having lots of little niggles and, for the team, it's a great patch for us at the moment in the A-League and the Champions League and we're really looking to push on and get results at the right time of the year." – Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

"It's always a challenge to play against Victory and big teams like Victory and we've got two draws against them (this season). I think at home we played very well against them and we just want to replicate a little bit our game here at home and see what happens." – Mariners captain Alan Baro.

Last time

Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 14
Melbourne Victory 1-1 Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, January 6, 2018
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The teams have shared the spoils twice this season, including in their previous meeting in January.

Berisha opened the scoring for Victory in the 49th minute, but his strike was cancelled out by Blake Powell.

Opta Widget: Last time

Head to head

Round 14, 2017/18: Victory 1-1 Mariners at GMHBA Stadium
Round 4, 2017/18: Mariners 1-1 Victory at Central Coast Stadium
Round 27, 2016/17: Victory 1-0 Mariners at AAMI Park
Round 20, 2016/17: Mariners 0-3 Victory at Central Coast Stadium
Round 12, 2016/17: Victory 4-1 Mariners at AAMI Park

Opta Widget: H2H