Preview: Tianjin Teda v Melbourne Victory
This match looms as a crucial one for Melbourne, who have disappointed in their first two games.
Date: Tuesday April 5 Kick-off: 7:30pm local, (9:30pm AEST) Venue: Tianjin Teda Stadium Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 3 Live Match Centre: www.melbournevictory.com.au
Head-to-head These teams have met a few times prior in friendly matches under the guise of the Lord Mayor's Cup. Under a sister city arrangement, they played in 2007, a match Melbourne won 6-5 on penalties, while in 2009, the match ended 2-1 in Tianjin's favour. Former Melbourne midfielder Nick Ward scored a cracking goal in that match.
The road to the ACL Gamba Osaka: 2010 J-League runners-up Melbourne Victory: 2010 A-League runners-up
Recent form: Tianjin Teda: CSL: Tianjin Teda 1 Shenzhen Ruby 0, Tianjin ACL: Tianjin Teda 2, Gamba Osaka 1, Tianjin ACL: Jeju United 0, Tianjin Teda 1, Jeju
Melbourne Victory: 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 HAL: Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Victory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium HAL: Melbourne Victory 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Etihad Stadium
Selection Caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic is set to make some key changes with Danny Allsopp, Matthew Kemp and Marvin Angulo all ruled out and Billy Celeski doubtful with a virus. He gets back Carlos Hernandez, who has overcome his recent fitness concerns, while Robbie Kruse will come off the bench, having covered plenty of air miles in recent weeks.
Tianjin coach Arie Haan should have close to his full squad for this match. Captain Marko Zoric, a Serbian, played in last weekend's CSL opener against Shenzhen Ruby and scored the decisive goal, and is set to lead a strong side.
Danger men Carlos Hernandez - The 2009/10 Johnny Warren Medallist is back to fitness and will be out to cause plenty of headaches for the home side.
Luciano Olgin - The Argentine has been a very useful acquisition for Tianjin scoring six goals in 12 matches last season.
At the end of the day This match looms as a crucial one for Melbourne, who have disappointed in their first two games, failing to pick up a point. The pressure is on with an unfavourable result sure to end their hopes of progressing.
Hernandez's return is big one for Melbourne, having been without the Costa Rican for a number of matches. Durakovic has indicated Melbourne will use a 4-4-2 system with Hernandez playing in behind Archie Thompson up front, with Isaka Cernak and Tom Pondeljak providing support from out wide.
That should allow for a bit more space in attack, which will suit Thompson and cause a few problems for a Tianjin defence which was the second best in the CSL last season. But the home side boast plenty of quality attacking players as well.
The home side will have their tails up after a great start to their second ACL campaign. A win here could all but book their passage to the next round and it is hard to see Melbourne, in their current form, standing in their way.
Squads Tianjin Teda 1. Zhao Yanming, 2. He Yang, 3. Kwon Jip, 4. Wu Ze, 5. Li Weifeng, 6. Marko Zoric, 7. Li Benjian, 8. Hu Rentian, 9 Obiora Odita, 10. Wang Xinxin, 12. Tian Xu, 13. Bai Yuexuan, 14. Bai Yuefeng, 15. Liao Bochao, 16. Zhang Xiaobin, 17. Lu Zheyu, 18. Zheng Yi, 19. Nie Tao, 20. Mao Biao, 21. Han Yanming, 22. Yu Dabao, 23. Wu Wei'an, 25. Yang Qipeng, 26. Cao Yang, 27. Ma Leilei, 28. Lu Yang, 29. Fan Baiqun, 30. Liu Song, 31. Han Cai, 32. Jia Yudong, 33. Li Lei, 34. Lin Chen, 35. Luciano Olguín, 36. Chen Tao, 37. Mu Yutan, 38. Xu Xiaolong, 39. Zhao Yingjie, 40. Li Yaoyue
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. Roddy 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)