Melbourne Victory begin their AFC Champions League campaign on Tuesday night against Chiangrai United of Thailand.
Victory vs Chiangrai kicks off at 7.35pm AEDT at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports in Australia.
After overcoming Kashima Antlers in a dramatic play-off in Japan, Victory secured qualification into the AFC Champions League for the eighth time in their history.
Andrew Nabbout scored the winner for Victory against Kashima, but the hero was goalkeeper Lawerence Thomas, who made a number of enormous saves to keep his side on top.
It hasn’t been a good season for Victory in the A-League however – they’ve spent basically every week languishing outside the top six, while they have since slipped to ninth spot after losing to Melbourne City in the derby on Friday night.
Six points adrift of a finals position, Victory are approaching desperation stakes domestically – but they will be confident of starting their Champions League campaign with a win.
Chiangrai are competing in the AFC Champions League for the first time in their 11-year history after winning the Thai League One title last season.
It’s the first time Chiangrai have won their domestic competition, ensuring direct entry into the Champions League after losing in the play-offs in 2018 and 2019.
Brazilian forward Bill is the main man for Chiangrai – he fired home 14 goals in 2019 and nine the season before, making him the club’s most prolific goalscorer.
Chiangrai are unbeaten in their last five competitive fixtures, but their domestic season hasn’t started yet, so they could be a bit rusty. Victory, despite their struggles this season, appear to have the better side and the home ground advantage should be enough to get them over the line.
Melbourne Victory – $1.40
Chiangrai United – $7.00
Draw – $4.50