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This will be the second time for Adelaide and so the experience from last season will give them some bit of advantage especially against teams from countries they played the last time around. Adelaide has been paired against Chinese champions Changchun Yatai, Korean Republicís Pohang Steelers and Vietnamese champions Binh Duong.
Victory will play its first Asian champions league match on March 12 against the South Korean side Chunnam Dragons. I think this is the second tough side in the group for Victory and so I think this match will give some indicators as to how the campaign may go.
The first away match for Victory will be against Thailand's Chonburi FC. Chonburi FC will also be the last team to visit the Dome on May 21. I think its good to finish with what I think is a winnable match because if you need a win to advance you could possibly get the win.
The biggest match will possibly be against Gamba Osaka at the Dome on the 9th of April. I think this is the strongest side in this group and I am happy to see that Victory will face them first at home before playing them in their own backyard two weeks later.
The Asian Champions League is a tough competition because only the group winners proceed to the next round and its the end of road for the other three teams. So a team basically pays heavily for any slip-ups and I am hoping that by that by March Ernie Merrick would have got some reinforcements especially having an attacking midfielder who can supply the strikers because so far this season the team has just been so defensive minded without doing a good job at it anyway and also creating very few scoring opportunities.
Also another factor that makes it tough for A-League teams is that all the first round matches are played in the A-League off-season and this is not a good thing at all. The A-League off-season is unusually very long and I hope that in future it could be shortened somehow and so that some of the matches can fall into the normal season. This will only when the number of matches or teams is increased.
With Victory's season having gone pear shaped, Victory's only chance to be playing in the competition next season would be to win it and thats very unlikely.
Of course you don't want to bring in teams that are not ready, that fail, but changes with Wellington Phoenix show there are a number of ways out there that can be explored. Too few games mean that if you get even the smallest of knocks and take say three weeks to recover, it means you miss a significant chunk of the season, players have to be in top form and free from injuries in a short league format...
.there is just no space to breathe and try out strategies