MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The A-League will celebrate its 1,000th match this weekend, more than eight years after its first.
The Melbourne Victory will host the Newcastle Jets on Sunday in the signature game. The first match in the Australian league, formed out of the old National Soccer League, was played on Aug. 26, 2005 when the Jets hosted Adelaide United.
In between, the league has been hit by the closure of several teams and fluctuating crowds.
But the league has recently been boosted by the marquee signings of players such as former Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero with Sydney FC and ex-Premier League striker Emile Heskey with the Jets.
Two spectators attending Sunday's match in Melbourne will each receive 1,000 Australian dollars ($905) worth of tires by a league sponsor.