Melbourne Victory’s squad for Saturday night’s AFC Champions League qualifier has been named.
Melbourne Victory-s squad for Saturday night-s AFC Champions League qualifier has been named.
Required to be submitted prior to the Champions League playoff stages commencing three weeks ago, the squad features 26 players, including three foreign players - the maximum number of international players allowed under the competition rules, in contrast to the five permitted in the Hyundai A-League.
With only four international players on Victory-s A-League squad list, Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler was the unlucky one to miss out for Saturday-s Champions League qualifier, with coach Kevin Muscat saying the final decision was a tough one, but one he based on the depth in each area.
"The reality is, once I-d weighed it up in terms of bodies we-ve got in defence — we-ve got Adama and Pablo — we-ve possibly got more options there in the area that Gui plays in,” Muscat said in Saturday night-s post-match press conference.
“Unfortunately for Gui that-s the outcome but, at the same time, we-ve got to understand that he-s just passed 12 months since his operation and he-s still got a bit to go in terms of getting to full match fitness. As far as I-m concerned he-ll get better.”
Should Victory qualify for the group stages, Muscat will be able to amend his squad in the lead up to the first game on February 26 against Guangzhou Evergrande, a group that will then be set in stone until the completion of the group stages.
Melbourne Victory AFC Champions League Qualifier Squad: 1. Nathan COE (GK), 2. Pablo CONTRERAS (foreign), 3. Adama TRAORE (foreign), 4. Nick ANSELL, 5. Mark MILLIGAN (c), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES (foreign), 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 14. James TROISI, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 17. James JEGGO, 18. Francesco STELLA, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21. Tomas ROGIC, 22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24. Scott GALLOWAY, 25. Jason GERIA, 26. Jordan BROWN, 27. Dylan MURNANE, 28. Christopher CRISTALDO, 29. Milos RIDESIC, 30. Keegan COULTER (GK).
Melbourne Victory take on Muangthong United on Saturday, February 15 at Kardinia Park, Geelong.
Find out more about Saturday night-s Thai opponents here.