2020 AFC Champions League: The state-of-play

Brandon Lauton

Melbourne Victory’s AFC Champions League campaign will recommence on November 24, with back-to-back fixtures against Beijing Guoan in Doha.

Victory has already picked up three points from two games in Group E, which is also occupied by FC Seoul and Chiangrai United.

Head Coach Grant Brebner is now tasked with preparing the squad for four matches in the space of ten days.

Beijing Guoan

The Chinese Super League side won its only Champions League game of 2020 – defeating Chiangrai United 1-0 in February.

Guoan finished second in the reformatted 2020 Chinese Super League, before suffering a semi-final defeat to Guangzhou Evergrande in the Finals last week. 

“We come up against a Chinese powerhouse in our first two games and it is going to be tough,” said Brebner.

In-form striker, Cedric Bakambu poses the greatest threat for Beijing having scored 14 goals in 19 appearances this season.

Chiangrai United

Thailand’s Chiangrai United will face Victory for the second time on November 30.

United travelled to Melbourne in February and were dealt a first Champions League defeat by an Ola Toivonen penalty.

“Chiangrai are also doing reasonably well in their domestic competition. We will get as much out of the Champions League as we can, to make sure that we are A-League ready” said Brebner.

Brazilian striker, Bill offers the best hope for United. The veteran has scored eight goals in Chiangrai’s ongoing 2020 Thai League 1 season.

FC Seoul

Victory’s last Champions League outing was against FC Seoul in February at the World Cup Stadium, where Park Chu-young handed Melbourne its first defeat.

The South-Korean side will resume its continental campaign against Beijing on November 21 and will be planning on returning to winning ways, following a turbulent 2020 K League 1 season.

“FC Seoul have not had the season they would’ve liked, but then they are going into a different competition that they may view differently,” said Brebner.

The experience of Park is invaluable to Seoul. The veteran forward has played in three World Cups and he might be the man to lead the charge to progression from Group F.

Remaining fixtures:

9pm, November 24 – Beijing Guoan v Melbourne Victory, Jassim bin Hamad Stadium
9pm, November 27 – Melbourne Victory v Beijing Guoan, Jassim bin Hamad Stadium
12am, December 1 – Chiangrai United v Melbourne Victory, Jassim bin Hamad Stadium
12am, December 4 – Melbourne Victory v FC Seoul, Education City Stadium

Matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports and streamed on Kayo Sports.