AFC Champions League preview: Vissel Kobe v Melbourne Victory

Match details

Vissel Kobe v Melbourne Victory
AFC Champions League play-off
Noevir Stadium Kobe, Japan
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Kick-off: 9.00pm AEDT
Broadcast: live and free on the 10play website


Melbourne Victory head to Japan to fight for a place in the 2022 AFC Champions League against Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe on Tuesday night.

Victory earned their spot in the play-off by winning the FFA Cup last month and will need to be at their best against Kobe, who qualified for the match by finishing third in the J-League last season.

The winner of the match will proceed to the AFC Champions League group stage while the loser will miss out on the tournament.

Victory enter Japan in decent form, earning seven points from their last three league fixtures.

Wednesday night’s clash with the Mariners ended in a 1-1 draw but produced plenty of promising chances throughout the 90 minutes.

Nick D’Agostino found the back of the net for the third time in two games to continue his strong campaign in all competitions.

Victory made it through the group stage in their last taste of AFC Champions League action in 2020, losing to eventual winners Ulsan.

Head Coach Tony Popovic was in charge of the only Australian club to win the AFC Champions League, in 2014 with Western Sydney, and will be hungry to qualify for another shot at glory.

Brendan Hamill and Matt Spiranovic played under Popovic in the triumph.

Jason Davidson has also hoisted the trophy in 2020 with Ulsan.

Popovic will have a near-full strength squad to choose from on Tuesday night.

Spanish legend Andres Iniesta headlines a talented Vissel Kobe squad.

Player in focus

Nick D’Agostino is in red-hot form and will need to continue providing a threat in front of goals if Victory are to triumph.

What they said – Tony Popovic

“It’s a great game to play. Vissel Kobe is a fantastic team, a fantastic club, and finished third in the J-League.”

“It’s a wonderful challenge for us as a football club to be on that stage. We’ll do everything we can to make our club proud and the league proud.”

“I’ve never played a game not confident to win, so I don’t see why Tuesday is any different.”