Lia anticipates tough clash against Victory

Having played on both sides of the Original Rivalry, Vince Lia is fully aware of the animosity shared between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory.

The experienced midfielder made his Adelaide debut in the Westfield FFA Cup against the Victory back in August.

And before joining Wellington Phoenix in 2007, Lia spent two seasons at the Victory and knows just how much the Original Rivalry means to both sides.

“There’s not too many players there now that were then when I was there – it was twelve years ago,” he said.

“Muscy’s (Kevin Muscat) was playing back then, Leigh Broxham is still there.

“… It’s a big game, everyone wants to beat Victory, and Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United games have historically been big events.

“And we are hoping there’s a massive turnout to Adelaide Oval because it’s a big stadium.

“We need to get as many people here as we can to make it as hostile an environment as we can.”

Melbourne have endured consecutive defeats from their opening two matches.

But Lia believes their winless start to the year is largely irrelevant and is expecting an improved Victory outfit.

“It’s always a dangerous time to play them, they’re a good side,” he said.

“They’ll be challenging again for the title, (they’ve had) two losses but they’ve played the two teams on top of the ladder and who are expected to challenge as well.

“The Aussie boys (James Troisi and Mark Milligan) just got back last week (against Melbourne City), so maybe they were a little fatigued.

“They’ll be up for this game so we have to be as well.”

With four points from the first two games following a 1-1 draw and 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar respectively, Lia said he is satisfied with the start to the campaign.

However, Lia was hoping to see United start with more assuredness, after conceding early goals in both of those fixtures.  

“Good teams can win when they’re not playing well and we did that last week,” he said.

“We have come from behind both times, I’d like to go ahead and see how we go.

“I think if we go ahead we’ll be a lot more confident earlier and we can do some damage.”

Lia signed for the Club during the pre-season and said he has adjusted well to his new surroundings courtesy of his teammates.

“The boys right from the beginning were good,” he said.

“I knew some of them well and knew of most of them so it’s been easy to fit in.

“I’ve played a few games like you said the FFA Cup games, so I’ve been involved for a few months now and I’m looking to making my home debut on Friday night at Adelaide Oval.”

The 32-year-old is also confident Karim Matmour will return to the matchday squad, having missed the Brisbane clash through injury.

If Matmour is included he will be a welcomed addition for Head Coach, Marco Kurz, as the Algerian international is a source of creativity in the Reds line-up.

“Hopefully, he missed last week’s game with muscle soreness and he trained today, he trained well,” he said.

“So if he’s included in Friday night’s squad he’s a really good player we brought him here to help us win trophies.

“And we need him to be fit and firing and everyone is fit at the moment which is important.”

Adelaide United host Melbourne Victory in Round 3 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Friday, 20 October at Adelaide Oval. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.