Velaphi set for debut

Melbourne Victory will hand goalkeeper Tando Velaphi a debut in Tuesday night's AFC Champions League clash against Tianjin Teda in China.

Melbourne Victory will hand goalkeeper Tando Velaphi a debut in Tuesday night's AFC Champions League clash against Tianjin Teda in China.

The 23-year-old, who joined the club in February after 86 A-League appearances with Perth Glory, replaces veteran custodian Michael Petkovic.

Interim coach Mehmet Durakovic explained Velaphi has deserved his chance.

"Tando's done really, really well at training and I just think it's time to give Tando a chance for this important game," Durakovic said.

"Both keepers have done fantastic, Tando's really come on at training and his attitude has been first class, but so has Petka to be fair."

Velaphi's inclusion headlines a raft of changes made by Durakovic for a match Victory needs to take at least one point after losing their opening two ACL games.

But injuries have forced Durakovic's hand somewhat with Danny Allsopp (groin), Matthew Kemp (knee) and Marvin Angulo (hip flexor) remaining home in Australia.

While one Costa Rican goes out, Victory welcomes back another as Carlos Hernandez returns to the starting line-up, with emerging defender Matthew Foschini and midfielder Leigh Broxham also called up.

Durakovic is confident the changes in personnel will have the desired effect against a Tianjin team managed by former Dutch international midfielder Arie Haan.

"I've made a few changes that I think are right. We've put in a few youngsters, they've been working hard on the training pitch and when the time comes they'll have a good game," Durakovic said.

"They are an attacking team, I've watched both their games and they have had good wins at home and away to be on six points."

"Hopefully we'll be able to counter-attack that and get a really good result here."

Durakovic is well-aware the stakes are high with a loss making it all but mathematically impossible for Victory to qualify out of the group stage.

"It is a must-win situation, if we can get a win it will be absolutely phenomenal for our chances to qualify for the next round," Durakovic said.

"Even a draw wouldn't put us in a bad position. A win or draw would be fantastic."

Durakovic also looks set to use Socceroos star Robbie Kruse as a shock weapon off the bench after clocking up plenty of air miles in the past week.

"Robbie got back Friday morning to Australia from Germany where he came on and did well for the Socceroos, so he's had a really long trip, then the next day we had to fly to South Korea and China," Durakovic said.

"Robbie's a bit jet-lagged and a bit tired to be fair, so he's getting as much treatment as he can off the pitch and hopefully he might come on in the second-half."

Conditions in Tianjin are expected to be conducive to good football, with kick-off at 9.30pm Melbourne time.