Preview: Melbourne Victory v Gamba Osaka
These teams have already met once this campaign with Melbourne suffering a heavy defeat in Osaka going down 5-1.
Date: Wednesday May 4 Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST Venue: Docklands Stadium Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports Live Match Centre: www.melbournevictory.com.au
Head-to-head Played 3. Wins: Gamba Osaka 3
How they made it Melbourne Victory: 2010 A-League runners-up Gamba Osaka: 2010 J-League runners-up
History These teams have already met once this campaign with Melbourne suffering a heavy defeat in Osaka on March 1, shipping three goals in the first 12 minutes en route to a 5-1 defeat.
These two teams played during Melbourne's inaugural AFC Champions League campaign in 2008. Their first match at Docklands was a pulsating encounter which ended 4-3 in the Japanese team's favour. Victory led 1-0 and then 3-2, with Danny Allsopp getting a brace, but Gamba found a last-minute winner through their Brazilian Lucas.
Two weeks later the teams met again in Japan with Masato Yamazaki scoring a brace as Gamba won 2-0, officially ending Melbourne's hopes of topping the group and getting through. Gamba Osaka would go on to beat Adelaide in the final that year.
Melbourne Victory: ACL: Melbourne Victory 2, Tianjin Teda 1, Docklands ACL: Tianjin Teda 1, Melbourne Victory 1, Tianjin 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
Gamba Osaka: JL: Gamba Osaka, Montedio Yamagata, Expo 70 Stadium JL: Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4, Gamba Osaka 1, Hiroshima ACL: Gamba Osaka 3, Jeju United 1, Expo 70 Stadium ACL: Jeju United 1, Gamba Osaka 1, Jeju ACL: Tianjin Teda 2, Gamba Osaka 1, Tianjin
Decisions for Mehmet As well as having Matthew Kemp injured, Melbourne have three players suspended for this match, Grant Brebner, Robbie Kruse and Surat Sukha. Into the starting XI come Danny Allsopp, who will link up with Archie Thompson up front, along with Diogo Ferreira and Rody Vargas.
Behind Enemy Lines Coach Akira Nishino has talked up Gamba Osaka having a full strength side for this match.
Our Hero Carlos Hernandez - The Costa Rican is starting to find his form against after troubles with his fitness in recent months and is ready for a big game here.
Danger Man Yasuhito Endo - A world class midfielder who will give the Victory plenty of headaches.
Why we will win? The opportunity to farewell Kevin Muscat from home soil in the best possible manner will not be missed by his team-mates. But sentiment enough won't be enough to get the job done, especially against such a talented side.
Gamba are a terrific outfit, with class all over the park. The key for Victory will be maintaining their shape and discipline under their speedy attack. With technical gifted players, the Japanese outfit can take you apart through passing, or damage you with pace. Added to that, they posses a powerful Brazilian in Adriano who is a threat with the ball on the ground or in the air.
Melbourne have quality up front and organisation, strength and discipline across the park. The visitors will looks to stretch them, but Victory need to back their own skill and weather their attacks. If they can do that and make the most of their own chances, they should be able to do enough to conjure a win which could put them in a strong position to progress.
Squads Melbourne Victory: 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. Rody 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)
Gamba Osaka 1. Yosuke Fujigaya, 2. Sota Nakazawa, 3. Kim Jong-Ya, 4. Kazumichi Takagi, 5. Satoshi Yamaguchi (vice-captain), 6. Takumi Shimohira, 7. Yasuhito Endo, 8. Hayato Sasaki, 9. Adriano, 10. Takahiro Futagawa, 11. Takashi Usami, 13. Kim Seung-Yong, 14. Shoki Hirai, 15. Hiroki Fujiharu, 16. Shohei Otsuka, 17. Tomokazu Myojin (captain), 18. Shota Kawanishi, 19. Kohei Kawata, 21. Akira Kaji, 22. Lee Keun-Ho, 23. Takuya Takei, 24. Kenta Hoshihara, 25. Shigeru Yokotani, 26. Yoichi Futori, 27. Hideo Hashimoto, 28. Shunya Suganuma, 29. Atsushi Kimura, 30. Tatsuya Uchida, 31. Kotaro Omori