Victory's Big Blue win augers well for ACL

Sydney FC provided Melbourne Victory with a good pre-AFC Champions League test on Tuesday and both Kevin Muscat and Oliver Bozanic were thrilled with how the Hyundai A-League champions found a way to win.

The Sky Blues sat back for the majority of the match at Etihad Stadium with Victory claiming the three points thanks to Matt Jurman's own goal in the 79th minute.

Few other teams in the A-League defend like Sydney - Graham Arnold's men have the best defence with just 14 goals conceded this season - and Bozanic applauded Victory's persistence as they moved within three points of top spot.

Victory’s late goal wins tense Big Blue

Arnold refutes Muscat's defensive tag after Big Blue

Muscat: Victory's reward for attacking intent

"It was a very important three points and we showed great character," the midfielder told Goal Australia.

"It's always a difficult game against Sydney FC because they're very good defensively, so it makes it hard for you to break them down.

Victory players celebrate the winning goal in a gripping Big Blue.

"But over time we found a way through and ended up scoring and winning the game."

Sydney's performance reminded Muscat of some of Victory's previous ACL experiences.

"If I look back to the last [ACL] campaign, you know, [Jeonbuk Motors] - they sat behind the ball and were very similar, very direct, play balls to contests and want to win second balls and make the game into a fight," Muscat said at his press conference following the Big Blue.

Victory last played in the ACL in 2014 when they finished third in Group G, missing out on the Round of 16 on goal difference to Jeonbuk.

Muscat's men finished the group unbeaten at home following a 2-2 draw with the K. League club, plus wins over Yokohama F. Marinos and eventual ACL winners Guangzhou Evergrande.

But in the deciding match to see if they would advance from their group, Victory were held scoreless by Jeonbuk in South Korea.

Against Sydney, however, Victory found a way through their opponent's well-organised defence.

Sydney striker Matt Simon puts in a challenge on Victory's Oliver Bozanic.

"We found solutions, a number of solutions, and we had some very, very good chances and it could have been one or two more [goals]," Muscat said.

"It was a very important three points and we showed great character," the midfielder told Goal Australia.

"It's always a difficult game against Sydney FC because they're very good defensively, so it makes it hard for you to break them down."

Victory will start their 2016 ACL campaign on February 24.

They have been grouped with Gamba Osaka and Suwon Bluewings, plus an as yet undecided club, who will qualify through the play-offs.

#PERvMVC