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ACL Preview: Daegu FC vs Melbourne Victory

ACL Preview: Daegu FC vs Melbourne Victory Group F Matchday 5
Third placed Daegu FC are looking to bounce back with a victory in the hope of going through to the knockout stages after suffering two consecutive defeats to the same opponents Sanfrecce Hiroshma. Meanwhile, bottom of the group Melbourne Victory will head to Daegu with a young, experimental side after being mathematically eliminated from the competition. K League United Daegu FC Correspondent Muyeol Jung previews this clash.


Last Time Out

K League: Daegu FC 1-0 Sangju Sangmu

Daegu FC hosted Sangju Sangmu for Friday Night Football at DGB Daegu Bank Park where the Sky Blues managed to add three points to their tally after beating the soldiers 1-0 through Jung Seungwon’s critical finish in the second half. Unlike the expectations, Daegu struggled to take the control of the game due to Sangju's defensive approach with dangerous counterattacking play.

However, just seven minutes before time, the only goal came from Daegu. Towering striker Edgar won a header from an early cross outside of the box, which perfectly dropped into the path of young Korean attacker, whose effort proved to be winning goal.

Highlights: here

A League Elimination Final: Melbourne Victory 3-1 Wellington Phoenix

Melbourne Victory, who finished their domestic campaign in the third, entered the A-League Elimination Finals against Wellington Phoenix. Just less than a minute after the kick off, Melbourne breathed a sigh of relief after Thomas dived well low to his left to push away a Krishna strike.

Before the break, the hosts took the lead through German defender Niedermeier’s header from Japanese midfielder Honda’s freekick. In the second half, the hosts comfortably doubled the lead when Swedish forward Ola Toivonen found Kosta Barbarouses on the move, who put the ball into the net from point blank range. Just ten minutes later, the visitors responded well with Krishna’s effort, but Victory restored their two-goal lead on 70 minutes thanks to the Swedish striker’s classy finish. In the end, Melbourne Victory advanced to the Semi Final after holding onto their lead.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Both teams have met only once in this year’s ACL group stage for match day one when Daegu flew off to Melbourne. Before the kick off, Melbourne Victory was touted as the favourites to win, but it was ACL debutants Daegu FC that claimed a historic win, their first in ACL, after they came from behind to win 3-1 through Cesinha, Hwang Soonmin, and Edgar’s efforts.

Highlights: here



Team News

As it stands, Daegu FC sit in third place in Group F by one point below Guangzhou Evergrande FC. For Andre’s side, anything less than three points could see them exit the campaign immediately if Evergrande beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima because of the head-to-head records against the J.League outfit, which will come into play when Daegu and Hiroshima are level on points after the match day 6. As a result, this is a must win tie for Daegu to get through the group stage. They will likely push for the win from the beginning with the strongest side in their usual 3-4-1-2 formation.

Coming into the fixture, the majority of Daegu squad should be available for selection after four full days of recovery. However, matchday one MVP Cesinha will not be available for selection due to a hamstring injury after Daegu manager Andre stated:

“Cesinha won’t be able to play against Melbourne, but will be able to start from the weekend” in post-match interview after the Sanjgu game. The Brazilian will be replaced by either Jung Seungwon or Hwang Soonmin.



The Adversary

According to Australian sources Melbourne Victory, with one point in Group F, come into this fixture with only 15 players having travelled, the minimum according to AFC rules, after being eliminated from the competition. Reportedly, Victory have opted to keep their key assets at home including all five foreign imports such as Keisuke Honda, Ola Toivonen, Kosta Barbarouses, Raúl Baena and Georg Niedermeier in order to prepare for the A-League semi-final against Sydney FC on Sunday night. Also, the Australia Associated news stated that Lawrence Thomas, Terry Antonis, Leigh Broxham, Carl Valeri, and Anthony Leistotis were told to stay at home. Of the 15 players which have travelled, only five of started the ACL Matchday 1 fixture at AAMI Park; Thomas Deng, James Donachie, Storm Roux or substitutes; Corey Brown and Kenny Athiu.

However, on the bright side, a heavily-changed and youthful Melbourne side managed to pick up a point against two-time Asian Champion Guangzhou Evergrande at home in match day four. Kiwi attacker Jia Ingham, who scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw to the Chinese side, is expected to start against Daegu along with towering forward Kenny Athiu and Elvis Kamsoba.




Who To Watch

Daegu FC - Edgar


Former U20 Brazil National Team forward Edgar is ready to add more to his tally in ACL. He had a fantastic start to the campaign with three goals and one assist, but he has had a hard time in bring back his fine form back because of a calf injury. Recently, in the domestic league, Edgar helped the team to move up to third with one goal and one assist after he returned from injury. Coming into this game, the former Buriram United striker will perhaps want to remind himself of the fond memories from the time he played against towering centre back James Donachie. Edgar featured in two 2-1 away victories over Donachie's Jeonnam towards the end of last season, scoring in one.

Melbourne Victory - James Donachie


Melbourne Victory defender James Donachie re-joined the club on loan after a six-month spell with Jeonnam Dragons last season. During his time in Korea, the Australian had some difficulties in adapting himself to Korean football whilst with a sinking Jeonnam Dragons that was eventually relegated to K League 2, with only 14 games in all competitions in Korea. Despite the short spell with the Dragons, 1993 year-born defender would play against Daegu FC three times. At 195cm tall , Donachie can be a commanding presence and has experience of Korean football.

Prediction

Given the teams' strengths and motivation ahead of Wednesday's match, Daegu FC comfortably will get the results. Melbourne are already out and have one eye already on their A-League finals match with Sydney FC. Daegu, meanwhile, are in great form in the league and will be the favourites to beat a much-changed Melbourne Victory side.

Predicted Score: Daegu FC 2-0 Melbourne Victory


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