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Travelling Victory ready for A-League grand final raid

Soccer

A resurgent Melbourne Victory plan the biggest heist in A-League grand final history on Sunday, and they’ll have an army of support to help them do it.

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Victory expect to boast the largest contingent of travelling fans in the competition’s history against the record-breaking Sky Blues.

Sydney FC will start firm favourites for the showpiece match, and there’s plenty of evidence to support their tilt.

Graham Arnold’s side got the better of Victory on each of their three meetings this year on their way to a record points haul.

Just once in 11 A-League deciders has a travelling side won the grand final.

But Coach Kevin Muscat doesn’t care much for statistics or history.

It’s why he dismissed one of the few factors that could be considered an advantage for his side; the 2015 grand final.

Victory have retained the nucleus of the team that defeated Sydney FC 3-0 in that match.

Muscat is preparing for a week of build-up, external analysis and predictions – and he’ll ignore all of it.

“When you’re holding the brush you can paint whatever picture you like,” he said.

“Once we get there on Sunday and kick-off comes, the actions that are going to occur in that 90 minutes or the 120 minutes, that will determine the result.

“Not what happened this week or what happened (in the grand final) two years ago.

“When we get to those stages, as we’ve seen tonight, we perform.”

Emboldened by a strong showing in their 1-0 semi-final win over Brisbane Roar, Muscat said one thing was going to change from Victory’s previous encounters with Sydney this campaign.

“The most important thing. We’re going to beat them,” he said.

“If we analyse the performances there was nothing in the three games.

“In fact, there were decisions in the games that compounded things and impacted the results.

“We go to Sydney with all the confidence in the world.”

They’ll have company on the road.

Muscat said he expected the navy blue faithful to join them at Allianz Stadium.

“We’ll have a healthy travelling support. No doubt they’re scurrying now to make their plans,” he said,

“It will be the biggest away interstate support in a grand final the competition has seen.”

Match-winner Besart Berisha said that could prove vital.

“We need them so much. I hope we get a little bit of support in Sydney because they are our 12th man,” he said.

“We (will) thank them with an amazing performance and a win.”

Beaten coach John Aloisi said Victory would have more than a puncher’s chance.

“Victory have definitely got a chance. When you’ve got players like Berisha who can step up and score goals in important games, of course you’ve got a chance,” he said.

“It will be a good final. I wouldn’t say it’s a given that Sydney are going to win.”

– AAP

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