History tells us that Victory are most dangerous with their backs against the wall and having had a couple of weeks to freshen up, we can expect a much-improved performance in this match.
Date: Tuesday April 5
Kick-off: 7:30pm local, (9:30pm AEST)
Venue: Tianjin Teda Stadium
Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 3
Live Match Centre: www.melbournevictory.com.au
Never played in AFC Champions League
How they made it
Tianjin Teda: 2010 Chinese Super League
Melbourne Victory: 2010 A-League runners-up
These teams have met a few times prior 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.
CSL: Tianjin Teda 1 Shenzhen Ruby 0, Tianjin
ACL: Tianjin Teda 2, Gamba Osaka 1, Tianjin
ACL: Jeju United 0, Tianjin Teda 1, Jeju
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
HAL: Melbourne Victory 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Etihad Stadium
Decisions for Mehmet
With Danny Allsopp, Matthew Kemp and Marvin Angulo all ruled out in this match, the caretaker coach has a few positions to fill. Billy Celeski (illness) is in some doubt and won’t start. Carlos Hernandez and Robbie Kruse will come in, with the latter to come off the bench. Tando Velaphi is set to make his debut between the posts in place of Michael Petkovic.
Behind Enemy Lines
Tianjin opened their Chinese Super League season with a 1-0 win over Shenzhen Ruby on the weekend with captain, Marko Zoric, a well-travelled Serbian defender, scoring the winner. The key men in the superb 2-1 win over Gamba Osaka in the last ACL game was Chen Tao, who scored an early goal, while Cao Yang scored a penalty.
Carlos Hernandez is back to fitness and is set to ply a major role in this match.
Luciano Olgin – The Argentine has been a very useful acquisition for Tianjin scoring six goals in 12 matches last season. The powerful striker is sure to be a handful for the Victory defence.
Why we will win
Melbourne’s hopes of resurrecting their ACL ambitions rest with a strong performance in this match. A loss would ruin any hope of progression, while a draw would only stay the execution. It will certainly be a major test under the regime of Mehmet Durakovic.
But with attacking players of the quality of Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez, you can never write off Victory, who will look to use a bit more width and the pace of Isaka Cernak and Tom Pondeljak to create attacking openings.
Tianjin have performed well in the ACL so far, winning both games, and will offer plenty in both defence and attack. Former China head-coach Arie Haan is a very astute manager and will have done his homework on the Melbourne side.
But history tells us that Victory are most dangerous with their backs against the wall and having had a couple of weeks to freshen up, we can expect a much-improved performance in this match.
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
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. Roddy 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)