Melbourne Victory to 'dictate terms' in vital ACL clash with Kawasaki Frontale
Melbourne Victory are pinning their AFC Champions League hopes on a bold, attacking strategy against Kawasaki Frontale in Tuesday night's pivotal clash.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat has forecast a high-scoring affair at AAMI Park, with both sides needing a win to boost their chances of progressing past the group stage.
The Victory are third in Group F with two points after last week's dramatic last-gasp draw against Kawasaki in Japan, while the reigning J-League champions are fourth with just one point from three games.
Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG top the group with seven points and Korean side Ulsan Hyundai are second with five points, with the top two teams advancing to the round of 16.
Muscat is counting on a significant home ground advantage to help boost the Victory's chances.
"They're a very well-respected team in their own country but we want to make sure here in our home that we send a clear message that we're not just going to sit back and make up the numbers," Muscat told reporters on Monday.
"We're going to have a real crack.
"I dare say it will be a bit of a shootout.
"We want to dictate terms, we want to dictate the tempo as they did to us in Tokyo. We want to return that favour.
"We've prepared very well in terms of our recovery and our training over the past few days in order to execute that."
An injury-time penalty from Leroy George helped the Victory grab a 2-2 draw on Wednesday night at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium.
With three rounds left in the group stage it could prove a crucial point for Muscat's men.
The Victory will also be hoping a gruelling travel schedule has taken a toll on Kawasaki's players.
Muscat's team hasn't played since Wednesday's encounter, but Kawasaki were involved in J-League action on Saturday before travelling to Melbourne on Sunday.
"We finished our match then had to travel straight away so I expect that they're tired," Kawasaki coach Toru Oniki said.
"However, when I looked at training [on Sunday] they were quite positive. They looked ready to fight.
"We really must get three points to get through to the round of 16.
"We are focused and committed to get a win."