Preview: Melbourne Victory v Seongnam Ilhwa
Victory will have just 48 hours to recover from Sunday's exhausting A-League major semi-final win over Sydney before taking on Seongnam Ilhwa.
Date: Tuesday March 9 Kick-off (AEST): 7:30pm AEST Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Previous Asian championship appearances:: Melbourne Victory: 2008: ACL Group Stage
Seongnam Ilhwa: 1996: Asian Club Championship Winners 1996: Asian Super Cup Winners 1997: Asian Club Championship Runners-Up 2003: Asian Champions League Group Stage 2004: Asian Champions League Runners-Up 2007: Asian Champions League Semi-Finals
This Campaign: Melbourne Victory: Beijing Guoan 1, Melbourne Victory 0, Beijing Workers Stadium, February 23
Seongnam Ilhwa: Seongnam Ilhwa 2, Kawasaki Frontale 0, Kawasaki Frontale 0, Tancheon Sports Complex, February 23
Seongnam is a traditional powerhouse of Korean football having won the K-League title on seven occasions, the most recent of which was in 2006. It has missed out on qualifying for the past two editions of the tournament but found its way back among the continental elite when it made the final of the Korean FA Cup.
Chunma impressed in the first match, defeating Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale 2-0 with goals from Colombian Mauricio Molina and Montenegro's Dzenan Radoncic. Coach Shin Tae-Yong praised the impact of his foreign legion which also includes Brazil's Fabricio Souza and a player Australian fans will know plenty about in former Brisbane and Adelaide goliath Sasa Ognenovski.
Molina is the man to watch and is comparable to Melbourne's Carlos Hernandez in that he is dangerous both from open play and the dead ball. He scored one and set up the other in the opening match of the ACL campaign, while he netted a brace in the opening match of the K-League campaign, a 3-0 win against Gangwon.
Goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong is the back-up to Lee Woon-Jae in the national team and is likely to make the World Cup squad. He is 190cm and will provide a huge obstacle to get past.
Seongnam has been given the week off K-League duties and has got to Melbourne nice and early to help acclimatise to the Australian conditions.
In stark contrast, Victory will have just 48 hours to recover from Sunday's exhausting A-League major semi-final win over Sydney.
As coach Ernie Merrick duly noted, the win was of two-fold benefit as it not only got Melbourne into the decider but now gives them a fortnight's rest from the A-League.
Strikers Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson were terrific value against Sydney on their return from injury, scoring a goal each to give Merrick plenty to think about.
He will be sorely tempted to start the pair against Seongnam if they both pulled up fine from their SFS outing.
Skipper Kevin Muscat arrived back in Melbourne on Monday commenting on Victory's cramped playing schedule, saying it would be a huge challenge to lift the team mentally and physically after going into extra time against the Sky Blues.
Tom Pondeljak (hamstring) is in some doubt and will be checked on match day.
Despite their weariness, Victory will be desperate to get something out of this match after losing their ACL opener to Chinese side Beijing Guoan.
Melbourne Victory: 1. Mitchell Langerak , 2. Kevin Muscat (Captain), 3. Mate Dugandzic, 5. Surat Sukha, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Matthew Kemp, 8. Grant Brebner, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marvin Angulo, 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 14. Billy Celeski, 15. Tom Pondeljak, 16. Carlos Hernandez, 17. Matthew Foschini, 19. Evan Berger , 20. Glen Moss, 21. Robbie Kruse, 22. Nick Ward, 23. Adrian Leijer, 24. Luke Pilkington, 25. Aziz Behich, 26. Petar Franjic, 27. Stephen Hatzikostas, 28. Diogo Ferreira, 29. Nik Mrdja, 30. Sebastian Mattei
Seongnam Ilhwa: 1. Jung Sung-Ryong, 2. Ko Jae-Sung, 3. Yun Young-Sun, 4. Sasa Ognenovski, 5. Cho Byung-Kuk, 6. Jeon Kwang-Jin, 8. Fabricio Souza, 9. Cho Dong-Geon, 10. Dzenan Radoncic, 11. Mauricio Molina, 13. Jeong Ho-Jeong, 14. Song Ho-Young, 16. Kim Sung-Hwan, 17. Kim Cheol-Ho, 18. Namkung Do, 19. Shin Young-Chol, 20. Kim Jin-Ryong, 21. Jung Eui-Do, 22. Hong Chul, 24. Kim Tae-Youn, 25. Lee Chi-Joon, 26. Jang Suk-Won, 27. Choi Jae-Young, 28. Moon Dae-Sung, 29. Park Sang-Hyeon, 30. Jo Jae-Cheol, 31. Lee Sang-Gi, 32. Park Sang-Hee, 33. Jang Hack-Yong, 34. Min Byeong-Jun, 35. Lee Su-Jae, 36. Kim Dong-Jin, 38. Yong Hyun-Jin, 39. Lee Sun-Suk