Victory still confident despite AFC Champions League defeat
It was a less than ideal start but Kevin Muscat is confident is adamant Melbourne Victory are far from a spent force in this year’s AFC Champions League.
Despite taking a lead against Daegu at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Victory succumbed 3-1 to Korean side Daegu FC on Tuesday night.
The K-League side’s Brazilian duo Cesinha and Edgar both found the net in a clinical display by the visitors, despite Victory dominating possession and chances.
It means Victory will definitely need to pick up a win or two on the road in the remainder of the group stage, something they have failed to do in their last 19 attempts in the ACL.
"It's not uphill, it's not uphill,” a defiant Muscat said after the match.
“There's a lot of football to be played and when we sit down and assess this game, I don't like using the word could, but it could have been so different.
“I'll analyse the performance and keep persisting because there was some really good stuff and we dominated for long periods and created and earnt some really good openings, it wasn't to be."
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Victory only have to wait a week to try and make amends as they head to Japan to take on Besart Berisha’s Sanfreece Hiroshima next Tuesday.
While Berisha won’t feature against his former club having been left out of Sanfreece’s ACL squad, the match will see marquee man Keisuke Honda back in his homeland.
The Japanese legend was one of Victory’s best against Daegu and he went close to regaining the lead for his side before the break.
"He was instrumental in that first half of our dominance really. We dominated them in the first half for long periods and he was instrumental in that,” Muscat said.
“His run to get on the end of that ball, stretching, it was a really good strike, unfortunately it goes straight at the keeper.
“On another day that goes in, it's a different story."
With no match in the Hyundai A-League this weekend, Victory will fly out for Japan on Friday to prepare for Tuesday’s match.
Muscat will watch Sanfreece’s encounter with Cerezo Osaka on Saturday as he plots a way for Victory to bounce back quickly in the ACL.
The Hyundai A-League champions will be sweating on the fitness of defender Thomas Deng, with scans to determine if the youngster has picked up a groin injury.