Melbourne Victory has named a 25-man squad for the 2016 AFC Champions League.
Head coach Kevin Muscat made the tough decision to pick three of the club’s five foreign players in the squad – a requirement under AFC rules – with Matthieu Delpierre, Kosta Barbarouses and Besart Berisha given the nod.
Midfielder Gui Finkler and winger Fahid Ben Khalfallah were the unlucky two players who missed out on selection.
“Obviously it was a very tough decision to leave Fahid and Gui out of the squad,” said Muscat.
“The two foreign players who missed out were always going to be disappointed, because they are determined to contribute to the team, but unfortunately we are restricted by how many we can select.
“We had to choose the most balanced squad, which we believe will give us the best chance of having success in both competitions.
“Fahid and Gui’s value to Melbourne Victory is obvious. There is plenty of football to be played in the next few months, in the ACL and the A-League, and they will play a pivotal role in ensuring we’re competitive in both competitions.
“In what will be an extremely busy period, we need every member of our squad to play their part, and everyone will get their chance at some stage.
“We are excited about the opportunity to test ourselves against some of the biggest clubs in Asia, in a competition we’re hungry to succeed in.”
Victory’s ACL squad includes three of the club’s most talented youth players – Joey Katebian, Stefan Nigro and Kieran Dover.
Captain Carl Valeri has been included, but is unlikely to take part in the group stage as he continues his recovery from illness.
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Melbourne Victory’s 2016 AFC Champions League squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Jai INGHAM, 24.Thomas DENG, 25.Kieran DOVER, 26.Stefan NIGRO, 27.Joey KATEBIAN, 30.Lucas SPINELLA (gk)