ACL preview: Ulsan Hyundai v Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory can take a giant stride towards the AFC Champions League knockout phase when they play Ulsan Hyundai in Korea on Wednesday night (8pm kick-off AEST on Fox Sports 505).

The two sides are currently tied on five points in second spot in Group F, meaning the winner will assure themselves a spot in the last 16 with a game to spare.

It was a thrilling 3-3 draw when they met in Melbourne on Match Day 1 and it promises to be another entertaining affair at the Munsu Football Stadium.

SQUAD NEWS

Victory suffered a blow just before departing for Korea, with key midfielder Terry Antonis prevented from traveling due to a stomach bug. That's opened the door for Josh Hope to make his first Melbourne Victory start.

The 20-year-old has made five Hyundai A-League appearances and three AFC Champions League appearances, all off the bench, this season.

Key central defender Rhys Williams is also out through suspension.

Williams’ absence could see Thomas Deng shift from right-back into central defence alongside James Donachie.

Thomas Deng
Thomas Deng

WHAT THEY SAID (coach Kevin Muscat)

"We'll write our own story rather than be molded by what the perception is.

"We come here with great confidence.

“The players are in good spirits ... and what's going to help us most is attitude.

"The harder the circumstances, the sweeter the reward."

ULSAN FORM

Ulsan slumped to a 2-1 loss to Pohang Steelers in the K-League over the weekend, leaving them without a point and in last spot on the ladder after four games of the new season.

In the AFC Champions League, they are level with Victory on five points but lost their most recent clash, going down 1-0 at home against Shanghai SIPG.

ULSAN’S KEY PLAYERS

Pacy midfielder Mirslav Orsic has impressed for Ulsan since joining the club in January 2017. Australian football fans may recall the Croatian’s brace against Brisbane Roar in last season’s Champions League.

Striker Lee Jong-ho is another player to watch. He has scored 49 K-League goals, including eight last season, and won the Champions League with Jeonbuk back in 2016.

Experienced midfielder Hwang Il-su recently joined Ulsan from Chinese Super League side Yanbian Funde. The 30-year-old has four caps for the South Korean national team after making his debut last year.