Melbourne Victory made official their 25 man squad for the Group Stage of the Asian Champions League. Manager Kevin Muscat was forced to cut two regulars from his squad due to ACL foreign player restrictions. Brazilian Gui Finkler and French born Tunisian Fahid Ben Kalfallah were the unlucky men, with Muscat lamenting the toughness of the decision.
Finkler couldn’t hide his disappointment though, “I feel I’m in the best physical condition of my career – I think the GPS results showed that too,” he told the Daily Telegraph. The Brazilian also missed out on the 2014 ACL campaign and he is now weighing up his options, “I don’t want to leave the club, but I’m only human and it’s pretty hard to feel valued when decisions like these are made.”
For Muscat, Finkler’s comments will be hard to take as the former hardman stated the important role he and Ben Kalfallah will play in Melbourne Victory’s remaining A-League fixtures, “There is plenty of football to be played in the next few months, in the ACL and the A-League, and they will play a pivotal role in ensuring we’re competitive in both competitions.”
Melbourne Victory have been grouped with Shanghai SIPG (CSL), Gamba Osaka (J-League) and Suwon Samsung Bluewings (K-League) in Group G of the ACL. Victory will host Shanghai on 24th February where Muscat will face off against former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. The Swede not only has the advantage in experience, but also in his squad list which includes former Guangzhou Evergrande combination, Elkeson and Conca.
Squad List: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Jai INGHAM, 24.Thomas DENG, 25.Kieran DOVER, 26.Stefan NIGRO, 27.Joey KATEBIAN, 30.Lucas SPINELLA (gk)
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