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Melbourne Victory take second-string side to face Daegu FC

Melbourne Victory have taken the kids to South Korea for their midweek AFC Champions League distraction, leaving the bulk of their senior squad at home to prepare for Sunday's A-League semifinal.

All five foreigners have been spared the gruelling 20-hour door-to-door trip to face Daegu FC on Wednesday night.

Victory's result against the K League 1 side will have no bearing on their season, given they have already been mathematically eliminated from the tournament.

Victory's semifinal opponents Sydney FC also find themselves in South Korea this week to play Ulsan Hyundai on Tuesday night.

With the benefit of an extra day's recovery and still chasing a place in the knockout rounds in Asia, Steve Corica has taken a strong squad.

- ESPN's A-League Team of the Year

As Victory boss Kevin Muscat has just one priority -- reaching the A-League Grand Final -- he opted for a travelling party of just 15 players.

Of the team that defeated Wellington Phoenix 3-1 on Friday night, Thomas Deng, James Donachie and Elvis Kamsoba are the only starters to travel, along with substitutes Storm Roux and Kenny Athiu.

Along with the foreign five, Lawrence Thomas, Terry Antonis, Leigh Broxham, Carl Valeri and Anthony Lesitotis were told to stay put.

James Troisi, the club's sole member on the injury list as he recovers from a small hamstring tear, also won't be risked.

Ola Toivonen, who scored Victory's third goal in the elimination final against Wellington, said the contest with the Phoenix took a toll.

"We knew it was gonna be a physical game and we were ready for it," he said. "We played smart. So we deserved to win."

Toivonen's chip from an acute angle over Filip Kurto was a superb individual effort from Friday's man of the match.

"[Goalkeepers] always go down. They never stand. So the chip is always available. Nine out of 10 they go down to the ground," he said.

Kenny Athiu
Kenny Athiu is one of the few Melbourne Victory players that appeared in Friday's elimination final to travel to Korea.

He might have finished with a hat trick except he twice played in teammates while in goal-scoring positions.

"I'm not really a goalscorer. I like to put other players in positions as well," he said.

Having scored twice against Sydney FC this season already, Toivonen will be a marked man at Jubilee Stadium.

The 32-year-old said he was delighted to be heading to Kogarah, where he scored a fine free kick back in November, and not their most recent venue, the SCG.

"Now in the finals It doesn't matter if you play good as long as you get the result," he said.

"It's an even match-up. We won two games. They won one.

"They have the home field advantage. I just hope it's not at the cricket stadium ... that was horrendous."

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