Nabbout says 'phenomenal' win can get Victory firing
Andrew Nabbout hopes Melbourne Victory’s history-making AFC Champions League win over Kashima Antlers on Tuesday night can kick-start their Hyundai A-League season.
In the driving Kashima rain, Victory booked their spot in the group stages of this year’s edition of Asian club football's showpiece tournament with a 1-0 win over the highly-fancied Antlers.
Nabbout’s deflected strike early in the second half proved enough for the Hyundai A-League side, who weathered a barrage of pressure from the hosts.
It was a priceless and drought-breaking win for Victory, their first-ever away triumph in the AFC Champions League in 22 attempts.
"We had to work hard, especially considering the amount of games we’ve played in the last month or so," Nabbout told the AFC website.
"So the boys were phenomenal in terms of the structure. We had a clear game plan from the start and we executed it to perfection.
"We frustrated them and we caught them on the counter and got the goal. So it was a very well-rounded performance from the boys."
Nabbout added: "It’s [the ACL] the be all and end all really, and on top of that it’s our first win away from home in the AFC Champions League ever.
"It’s good to be part of history and it’s nice to etch one in the history books."
Victory now join Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC and Premiers Perth Glory in the group stage of the 2020 tournament.
Carlos Salvachua’s side will join Group E, alongside China PR's Beijing FC, Chiangrai United of Thailand and Korea Republic side FC Seoul.
But before they focus on continental matters, Victory are desperate to resurrect their Hyundai A-League campaign.
Victory are currently in eighth spot on the ladder, five points outside the top six.
“I’m ecstatic that we’re through to the group stages… we’ll just keep the ball rolling from here,” Nabbout, 27, said.
"The boys are delighted but we’ve now got to fly back to Melbourne and have a trip to Perth on the weekend so we have to recover very quickly."
Saturday, 1 February 2020
Perth Glory vs Melbourne Victory
Kick-off: 6.45pm local, 9.45pm AEDT
Venue: HBF Park
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports