Midfielder Osama Malik is under no illusions about how revved up Melbourne Victory will be to get their season up and running when the Reds meet their old foes on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.
Adelaide United FC midfielder Osama Malik is under no illusions about how revved up Melbourne Victory will be to get their season up and running when the Reds meet their old foes on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.
Heading into their 28th Hyundai A-League meeting, the form guide of the two clubs is highly contrasting. While the Reds have won their opening two encounters of season 8, the Victory have been on the receiving end twice and are coming off their heaviest ever defeat - a 5-0 demolition at the hands of reigning Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar.
But history has proven that the form guide gets thrown out of the window whenever Melbourne and Adelaide go head to head, and as the Victory will be desperate to secure their first win of the season under new coach Ange Postecoglou, Malik is well aware the Reds will be confronted by a team determined to bounce back in a big way.
“Obviously they (Melbourne Victory) will be very disappointed. They-re a proud club and will be out to prove a point this week but hopefully if we can play our own game we can do well and consolidate the good start we-ve had,” Malik said.
“They-re a new team. Ange (Postecoglou) has got them playing a different way and I-m sure they-ll work on some things during the week and improve on Friday.”
“Any derby between Adelaide and Melbourne is a good game and it-s going to be a tough game on Friday, so there is never really a good time to face them but if we go about our business I think we can do well.”
Back in Week 4 of last season, the Reds like Melbourne, found themselves on the wrong end of a heavily lopsided score line against the Roar at Suncorp Stadium. On that occasion, the result was orchestrated by Postecoglou, who was in charge of Brisbane at the time.
But any suggestions that the memories of that defeat to the Roar or the fact that Adelaide United have not defeated the Victory at Etihad since October 2006 will provide any further incentive is, according to Malik, not coming into the players- thinking in the lead up to Friday night.
“We-re not looking to outside sources for motivation,” Malik said.
“We-ve got enough belief in our squad to go and do well and enough motivation within our squad to do well this season.”
Not that Adelaide and Melbourne games ever need any added spice, but Friday night will also be the first time in the Hyundai A-League that Malik and the Reds will come up against former team mate, Argentinean wizard Marcos Flores.
Malik, who has been used in a defensive midfield role in the past two weeks, played an important role in helping to close down Western Sydney Wanderers- Japanese star Shinji Ono last Friday night and the challenges do not get any easier with 2010/11 Johnny Warren medallist Flores certain to want to play out of his skin against his former side.
“Flores I-m sure will be starting, he-s a great player and I was lucky enough to train and play alongside him a bit when he was here. It will be a tough job but it-s one I-m looking forward to,” Malik said.
“With Shinji (Ono) he-s a great player so we all worked together to stop him from playing his natural game and I think it worked, so hopefully we can do a similar thing with Flores.”
While friendships will be firmly put aside come kick-off, Malik stated there is no bad blood about Flores- move to join the Victory in the off season, United-s Rising Star from last season knowing it is all part of professional sport.
“There are no hard feelings there. It happens in football, people move on,” Malik said.
“In saying that, obviously we won-t be friends on the pitch on Friday night and we want to get a good result.”
Meanwhile, United playmaker Dario Vidosic is progressing well from a mild hamstring problem that kept him out of the win over WSW and he is likely to come into consideration for selection, while defender Nigel Boogaard rolled his ankle at training yesterday and will need to convince the coaching and medical staff at the next two training sessions that he is right to depart for Melbourne with the team on Thursday afternoon.