Melbourne Require Victory To Progress

Picture: Paul Miller/AAP
Star striker Archie Thompson is expected to feature in Tuesday's match. Picture: Paul Miller/AAP

Melbourne Victory  make the tough trip to Korea in a crucial AFC Champions League match against Jeonbuk Motors . Group G is fascinatingly poised heading into the final matchday of the AFC Champions League group stage. All four teams have managed two wins, two losses and a draw leaving them on seven points each. The Victory currently sits in third place on goal difference and the equation is simple; anything short of a win in Korea will spell the end of their Champions League campaign. A draw will be enough to see the home side progress into the last-16 stage.  

Kevin Muscat’s men will be confident heading into this match but with a semi-final in Brisbane on Sunday certainly in the back of Kevin Muscat’s mind, the strength of his starting 11 will be the big question. Inspirational captain Mark Milligan is suspended for this game, while Guilherme Finkler, the match-winner in Friday's elimination final against Sydney FC, is ineligible. James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses played their third game in seven days against the Sky Blues and could be rested. Archie Thompson should back up from Friday's game and play again, having missed the 2-0 win at home to Evergrande last Tuesday due to a family bereavement.

Jeonbuk are strong favourites to do the business at home but it won’t be a walk in the park. The match at Etihad Stadium between the two sides in March produced an entertaining 2-2 draw. The Koreans will need to be wary of the Victory’s pace when they attack, especially on the counter.

Knowing only a draw is required to progress and home ground advantage, Jeonbuk are poised to go through at the expense of a brave Victory side. Don’t write Melbourne off though, they surprised everyone last week when they overcame tournament favourites Guangzhou Evergrande.

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