MORELAND ZEBRAS V MELBOURNE VICTORY
Zebras down but not out
Moreland Zebras in recent weeks have been far from there best collecting only four points from the last four games. A loss in the derby against cross town rivals Moreland City gave Bulleen some breathing space at the top leading 5 points with second spot right back in the contention with third place St Albans trailing by 3 points and Moreland City and Ballarat 5 points away from second. A-League outfit Melbourne City are also within the mix respectively just two wins away from the Zebras. It was predicted that these past four games would be the hardest weeks ahead of the Zebras schedule and it doesn't any easier with an vital game against NPL1 East league leaders Melbourne Victory.
The Victory currently sit six points clear of Richmond and seven clear of Kingston both team who Zebras have snatched three points from. Victory have won two in the past 6 games. Including back to back wins against St Albans and Nunawading, a draw against Eastern Lions as well as three losses against Sunshine, Dandenong and Goulburn Valley. Victory have Richmond, Kingston and Goulburn Valley creeping up their back as they are very close with also second spot a highly contested battle.
Moreland want automatic promotion and for this to happen they need to win remaining games and results to go there way as well. Moreland last game fell 1-0 to Moreland City despite having most of the attacking play. A 2-1 loss to Goulburn Valley before a 0-0 draw with St Albans led to a 3-2 win against Kingston before losing to Moreland City. As they’re promotion hopes seem to be at risk they've got an even bigger mountain to climb when they face Melbourne Victory. The Zebras this week and coming weeks could be boosted with the return of James Kelly, Brad Murray and Kliment Dimitrieski after sustaining injuries which put them out of injury for a long time.
A win for the Zebras could put the heat back on Bulleen, but on the other hand a loss could open the door for St Albans to jump back in the race for second and give Bulleen the ultimate box seat experience. For Victory it could really cement first place and automatic promotion in the NPL1 East to top division but could swing the battle for promotion in the East right in limbo.
A must needed win for both clubs which looks to be a highly escalated game.
Verdict: Zebras 0-0 Victory
Moreland Zebras v Melbourne Victory
Saturday 8th of August
CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner
Kick off 4PM (U20 2PM)
Report by Matthew Jones