Preview: Melbourne Victory v Tianjin Teda

These two teams met in their most recent AFC Champions League match with Marko Zoric scoring the opener before Kevin Muscat equalised.

Date: Wednesday April 20
Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST
Venue: Docklands Stadium
Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 3
Live Match Centre:

Played 1: Draws: 1

How they made it
Tianjin Teda: 2010 Chinese Super League
Melbourne Victory: 2010 A-League runners-up

These teams have met a few times before in friendly matches under the guise of the Lord Mayor’s Cup. Under a sister city arrangement, they played in 2007, a match Melbourne won 6-5 on penalties, while in 2009, the match ended 2-1 in Tianjin’s favour. Former Melbourne midfielder Nick Ward scored a cracking goal in that match. They then met in their most recent AFC Champions League match with Marko Zoric scoring the opener before Kevin Muscat equalised.

Recent form:

Melbourne Victory:
ACL: Tianjin Teda 1, Melbourne Victory 1, Tianjin
ACL: Melbourne Victory 1, Jeju United 2, Docklands
ACL: Gamba Osaka 5, Melbourne Victory 1, Osaka
HAL: Gold Coast United 1, Melbourne Victory 0, Skilled Park
HAL: Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Victory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium

Tianjin Teda:
CSL: Tianjin Teda 3, Shandong Luneng 1, Tianjin
CSL: Henan Jianye 0, Tianjin Teda 0, Henan
CSL: Tianjin Teda 1 Shenzhen Ruby 0, Tianjin
ACL: Tianjin Teda 2, Gamba Osaka 1, Tianjin
ACL: Jeju United 0, Tianjin Teda 1, Jeju

Decisions for Mehmet
Victory have just about a full list to pick from with only Matthew Kemp unavailable. Strikers Danny Allsopp and Robbie Kruse will be pressing for a return to the starting line-up having missed the match in China, while Marvin Angulo is likely to come on to the bench.

Behind Enemy Lines
Tianjin will be without skipper Marko Zoric, who was sent off for his tackle on Carlos Hernandez in the match in Tianjin when these two met. There may be a change of keeper with Zhao Yanming replacing Yang Qipeng between the posts for the most recent Chinese Super League match, while Nigerian Emmanuel Odita and Korean Kwon Jip could both be considered to start after also playing on the weekend.

Our Hero
Kevin Muscat – This is likely to be Kevin Muscat’s third last game as a footballer and he is determined to go out on a positive note. He scored the equaliser in the last match between these two and is likely to be a major player again.

Danger Man
Chen Tao – Chen scored one goal and set up another in the weekend’s 3-1 win over Shandong Luneng. Was substituted after just 56 minutes in the previous meeting between these two teams and will be keen to make a stronger contribution this time.

Why we will win
If Melbourne are any chance to get through to the knockout stages of the tournament then they need all three points from this match. The positive performance in China, combined with a couple of weeks more under the guidance of caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic should see Victory at close to their peak here.

Several players have had chances to rediscover their fitness in that break and the premium attacking trio of Archie Thompson, Robbie Kruse and Carlos Hernandez are likely to be united for the first time in a while.

That will give them some real potency up front and trouble a defence which looked a little shaky when the teams met in Tianjin two weeks ago. The absence of Zoric is a big blow in terms of their structure and coach Aire Haan will be scratching his head trying to work out the best way to blunt Melbourne’s attack.

The do-or-die nature of this match combined with a return to the comforts of home should make for a good night for the home side and all three points.

Melbourne Victory:
1. Michael Petkovic (GK), 2. Kevin Muscat, 4. Petar Franjic, 5. Surat Sukha, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Matthew Kemp, 8. Grant Brebner, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marvin Angulo, 12. Rody Vargas, 13. Diogo Ferreira, 14 Billy Celeski, 15. Tom Pondeljak, 16. Carlos Hernandez, 17. Matthew Foschini, 18. Danny Allsopp, 19. Isaka Cernak, 20. Sebastian Mattei (GK), 21. Robbie Kruse, 23. Adrian Leijer, 24. Luke Pilkington, 25. Luke O’Dea, 26. Nick Ansell, 27. James Jeggo, 30. Tando Velaphi (GK)

Tianjin Teda
1. Zhao Yanming, 2. He Yang, 3. Kwon Jip, 4. Wu Ze, 5. Li Weifeng, 6. Marko Zoric, 7. Li Benjian, 8. Hu Rentian, 9 Obiora Odita, 10. Wang Xinxin, 12. Tian Xu, 13. Bai Yuexuan, 14. Bai Yuefeng, 15. Liao Bochao, 16. Zhang Xiaobin, 17. Lu Zheyu, 18. Zheng Yi, 19. Nie Tao, 20. Mao Biao, 21. Han Yanming, 22. Yu Dabao, 23. Wu Wei’an, 25. Yang Qipeng, 26. Cao Yang, 27. Ma Leilei, 28. Lu Yang, 29. Fan Baiqun, 30. Liu Song, 31. Han Cai, 32. Jia Yudong, 33. Li Lei, 34. Lin Chen, 35. Luciano Olguín, 36. Chen Tao, 37. Mu Yutan, 38. Xu Xiaolong, 39. Zhao Yingjie, 40. Li Yaoyue