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Reds’ 2021/22 campaign begins against champions, rivals Victory

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Adelaide United kick-off the Liberty A-League 2021/22 season against defending champions Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Missing out on a maiden finals appearance last season on goal difference, by a solitary goal, Adrian Stenta’s side will be determined to make a bright start.

Standing in their way first up through is the incumbent title holders and rivals.

A core group of the squad has remained but there are a number of new offseason additions to the team with a few key players departing.

The Reds’ last away match against Victory occurred on the opening day of the 2018/19 campaign which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Adelaide will head into the match as underdogs but will certainly not shy away from the challenge, determined to realise their objectives.

Team news

Several new signings are in line to make their debuts for the Club including, Shay Evans, Paige Hayward, Nano Sasaki, Reona Omiya, Emma Stanbury, Grace Taranto, Leia Varley and Miranda Templeman.

What the experts say

Tara Rushton: Last season was the closest the Reds ever got to playing finals for the first time (missing by just a goal-difference point). Here’s hoping with a host of fresh faces – this season is the season they can break through!

It’s a tough test first up against the reigning Champions, who have arguably the best centre-back pairing in the league and the likes of Ayres, Zimmermann and KCC who are all dangerous in the front third.

One to watch

Tara Rushton: Reona Omiya – a great addition to the centre of the park.

Key battle

Tara Rushton: Looking forward to watching exciting young striker Chelsie Dawber again this season and from Victory Matildas midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross.

What you’d like to see

Tara Rushton: It’s all about the chemistry within this team so here’s hoping it sparks and we also see big seasons from Chelsie Dawber, Emily Condon, and Matilda McNamara.

Head-to-head

Played: 19
Wins: 4
Draws: 2
Losses: 13

Last five meetings

1-0 loss (H)
3-0 loss (H)
3-2 win (H)
0-0 draw (A)
2-1 win (H)

Prediction

Tara Rushton: Victory will be difficult to break down, but I can see some first game jitters and ring-rust affecting the cohesion of this Melbourne side – with the Reds jagging a goal against the run of play to even the ledger the final score 1-1.

Match details:

Sunday, 5 December vs Melbourne Victory Women
A-League Women 2021/22 – Round 1
Kick-off 3.35pm ACDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Broadcast: 10 Bold
Stream: Paramount+

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