Our Reds will cross the border to face the Victory for the #OriginalRivalry on Friday night. We're 11 Hyundai A-League games undefeated, but without a win over our most despised opponents in a long time, these three men might need to be stopped if we want to make it 12.
Despite only being with Victory since 2014, Besart Berisha has quickly become one of the most significant villains in the cross-border rivalry of Adelaide and Melbourne. Scoring two goals against the Reds since in Victory’s blue, Berisha’s presence is always noticeable and frequently fiery. One of the most clinical finishers the Hyundai A-League has ever seen, Berisha has scored 14 goals so far this season and is second overall on the top goal scorer standings, and just one goal off his total tally from last season. A constant focal point for Melbourne’s attacks, the attention he receives can be crucial whether he’s directly involved with attacking moves or not.
Total Shots: 2
Shots on Target: 1
Shot Assists: 2
Passing Accuracy: 91.3%
Brazilian-born, Finkler, has continued to steadily flourish throughout his time in the Hyundai A-League. Widely known for his quality distribution and proficiency from a dead-ball situation, Finkler can be the difference in matches. While some players are strong with the ball, but lack the mental quickness needed to create countless chances for their teammates and truly utilise their abilities, Finker can seemingly do it all. Last season’s second highest assister, Finkler currently has three goals and three assists, directly contributing to a fifth of Victory’s goals this season. Perhaps with a point to prove considering Head Coach, Kevin Muscat, left him out of Melbourne’s squad for their upcoming AFC Champions League campaign, Finkler could be additionally motivated to perform well, or he could be disheartened and disinterested.
Total Shots: 4
Shot Assists: 2
Passing Accuracy: 83.1%
Fahid Ben Khalfallah
Four goals and four assists to date, but still no room for the league’s leading assister from last season in Muscat’s ACL squad, like Finkler. Ben Khalfallah’s 2015/16 season has been as consistent as can be expected from the quality Tunisian, but his exclusion from Victory’s ACL team for the second time could waver his desire ahead of one of the biggest domestic matches this season. Nevertheless, through the absence of Kosta Barbarouses as a result of suspension, Ben Khalfallah will be one of the key go-to-men for Melbourne, who could potentially look to utilise his directness. Not overly impactful in Round 1 against the Reds, but undeniably more so in Round 8, Ben Khalfallah has the ability to turn the game on its head, to what extent remains to be seen.
Total Shots: 2
Shot Assists: 1
Passing Accuracy: 90.3%
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Adelaide United will face Melbourne Victory in Round 20 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season on Friday, 19 February at AAMI Park. Kick-off is at 7.10pm ACDT.