Match day seven preview: Melbourne Knights
Saturday 30th – 3:15pm – Avenger Park

Avondale are set to host the Melbourne Knights this weekend in what is an early contender for game of the season as the league’s top two teams face off at Avenger Park this Saturday.

It will be a tough test for the undefeated Avengers. The Knights have only lost one game this season – to reigning champions Heidelberg – and have been in fine form after a rather lacklustre 2018 campaign.

Melbourne’s early-season success comes as a bit of a surprise, with the club struggling in recent years. The former-NSL club have missed the finals each of the last three seasons and only managed a ninth-placed finish last year.

However, the Knights enter the fixture having won three on the trot, including an impressive 2-0 win over fellow title-contenders Bentleigh greens.

Avondale are of course on a hot streak of their own – they have won all six of their matches this season and are still yet to trail at any stage in any game.

The Avengers are also coming into the matchup after a strong win, dismantling fellow top-six side Green Gully 5-2 last weekend.

Liam Boland has been in scorching form in front of goal this season, the big striker has a league-best eight goals this campaign – three more than his nearest rival. Overall, Avondale still boast the league’s most potent offence (19 goals) and tightest defence (five goals conceded).

No matter the result Avondale are still likely to remain in top spot on the table. The Azuri are three points clear of Melbourne with a vastly superior goal difference. However a win for the Avengers could see them open up a five or six-point gap to second place.

Impact players

Hamish Watson – Watson is the Knights’ leading goal scorer this season, having found the back of the net five times. He made 31 appearances for the Wellington Phoenix between 2016-18, scoring six goals.

Gian Albano – Albano came across to the Knights from WA this season and scored two goals in their win over Port Melbourne last weekend.

Coach – Micky Colina
2019 season is Colina’s first season in charge of the Knights, taking over after Aljosa Asanovic stepped down. Colina spent last year with the Knights a senior assistant coach and the head coach of the Under 20s. Prior to that Colina had coaching gigs with the St Albans Saints and Richmond SC. As a player, Colina suited up for St Albans during the old VPL days.

Last year
Melbourne Knights 2 – 2 Avondale
Avondale 4 – 3 Melbourne Knights

Form guide
Melbourne Knights:
3-2 W vs Port Melbourne
2-0 W vs Dandenong City
2-0 W Vs Bentleigh Greens

2-5 W vs Green Gully
3-1 W vs Pascoe Vale
4-0 W vs South Melbourne

Avondale squad:
1. Chris Oldfield (GK)
2. Scott Hilliar
3. James Riccobene
4. Charles Beverly
5. Matthew Reid
7. Stefan Zinni
8. Jem Berkant
9. Liam Boland
10. Jonatan Germano
11. Keenan Gibson
12. Yusuf Ahmed
13. Yitay Towns
17. Phillip Riccobene
18. Tasuku Sekiya
19. Brandon Lundy
22. Stefan Valentini
23. Christian Inglese
24. Dillon Jakupi
33. Joey Katebian
37. Jye Spiteri
22. Evan Markogiannakis (GK)

Article By Bransen Gibson

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