Victory target ACL revival in Japan

Kevin Muscat is the only coach to get Melbourne Victory past the group stage in the ACL.
Kevin Muscat is the only coach to get Melbourne Victory past the group stage in the ACL.

The stars are finally aligning for Melbourne Victory and coach Kevin Muscat is keeping his squad firmly grounded for a crunch Asian Champions League (ACL) clash on a fast Tokyo pitch.

Buoyed by the weekend's A-League derby win and news star winger Leroy George is fit to play, Victory will take on ACL Group F stragglers Kawasaki Frontale in a game set to go a long way towards deciding both clubs' continental hopes.

"The boys have are feeling upbeat after the weekend's result in the derby," Muscat said.

"But the focus has really turned since we've got here to giving a good account of ourselves and putting on a performance that can take three points.

"We're looking forward to playing a very good team.

"We've already managed to train at the stadium and it's a very, very fast pitch, so it's something we'll have to get used to quickly."

With two games played, Kawasaki sit bottom of the group without a point while Victory are third with a single point after a 3-3 home draw with Ulsan Hyundai and 4-1 away loss at Shanghai SIPG.

Triumph would lift Muscat's men back into round of 16 contention before the pair do battle again at AAMI Park next Tuesday.

"It's interesting because they find themselves in a position where this is their second home game," Muscat said.

"So both teams don't want to lose, but we'll see who wants to win more because we're certainly going to have a go.

"Back-to-back games against Kawasaki, so it's an interesting period in the competition."

Australian Associated Press