Everyone loves an underdog.
Tonight at 7:30pm, the city of Melbourne will be lit up by the spectacle that is derby football. Melbourne Victory, who finished the regular season atop the A-league ladder, will be going up against their home town rivals, Melbourne City FC.
City, recently re-branded from Melbourne Heart FC, barely scraped into the finals this season after making some key mid season acquisitions to bolster their squad. last week, van't Schip's men were able to do the almost impossible and pick up a win in Wellington against the Pheonix.
The win saw the club progress into tonight's semi-final at Etihad Stadium. They go into the match with their heads held high and a lot less to lose compared to Kevin Muscat's side who were convincingly the best football team of the season.
Experts said at the beginning of the season that City had next to zero chance of making it as far as they have, however, it seems now that most of the city (Melbourne) itself want to see the underdog triumph over the towering Goliath that is the Melbourne Victory.
The new look Melbourne City FC did not go without their share of helpings from new owner's the City Group who funded a new training facility and aided in bringing in some new talent in the form of Dutchman Kew Jaliens, 23 year old Frenchman Harry Novillo and our very own Josh Kennedy.
The signings proved a very important aspect of coach John van't Schip's campaign as new signing and Spanish legend David Villa left for the U.S. to begin a new career at New York City FC shortly after the begining of the season. Slovenian Robert Koren was signed prior to the 2014/2015 A-League season to help Irishman Damian Duff up front however he did not make an appearance till late in the campaign due to carrying an ankle injury.
Melbourne City's captain Patrick Kisnorbo is confident that he and his fellow team-mates will be able to match it with the Victory early on. Kisnorbo has constantly been the rock in defence for his Melbourne side and has no intention of letting up in the semi final tonight. himself and another new recruit Jack Clisby will be aiming to keep the dangerous Victory striker Besart Berisha to minimal touches on the ball.
It's no doubt that the Melbourne City FC side of 2014/2015 has some home grown talent as well with Aaron Mooy getting the call up to the National squad for the 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year, not to mention being in the running for City's top player of the season with consistent performances on the pitch week in week out.
The eagerly anticipated semi-final is shaping up to be quite an evenly matched hit out between two rivals of Australian Football and we can't wait to see who draws first blood. Will it be the Talented new comer Harry Novillo who re-creates that remarkable strike in the wet against the champions of Asia or perhaps some magic from veterans Archie Thompson of Victory or Josh Kennedy of City?
Whoever puts that first one away, it's going to be crucial in setting up the rest of the match with the winner booking their ticket to the grand final of the 2014/2015 Hyundai A-League season.
Whether you're in the underdog's corner or at ringside for the ladder leaders, tonight's game is surely going to provide some insight into the Melbourne rivalry of Australian Football and we can't wait.