Police vow to swoop ahead of Melbourne Victory Melbourne City game after pitch invasion on bad behavior

Officials from the Public Order Response Team (PORT) and Mounted Branch will be stationed at the stadium during the game.

Victory fans who purchased tickets for the game were informed that tarpaulins would be placed in fan bays 36-40 at AAMI Park during the game.

Other security measures leading up to the derby include restrictions on ticket sales, additional security guards and improved flare response, according to a spokeswoman for venues manager Melbourne & Olympic Parks.

Melbourne Victory manager Tony Popovic said this week the club were “happy to see our fans and members again” and wanted this to continue after the team had to play behind closed doors in December.

“Nobody ignores it (but) we all moved away from it,” he said of the pitch invasion.

Original Style Melbourne (OSM) fan group, accused of driving last year’s pitch invasion, said in a post on Facebook that the pitches were irrelevant, urging supporters to “act wisely” and critics not giving that excuse “to try to destroy us again”.

Victorian Sport Minister Steve Dimopoulos appealed to football fans’ “sense of higher values” on Saturday, noting that troublemakers at the game would be dealt with quickly.

“What we saw in December was totally unacceptable,” he said.

“Misconduct – tonight or any night, at any sporting venue in Victoria – will not be tolerated. Those with a disposition to mischief will be confronted.

“In terms of my optimism, yes I am optimistic because I believe Victorians love the sport and love a safe and respectful event.”

With AAP

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Callan Tansill

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