Melbourne Victory can today confirm it will play its upcoming AFC Champions League qualifying match at Kardinia Park in Geelong on Saturday, February 15 at 7:45pm.
Melbourne Victory will play one of Muangthong United (Thailand), Pune FC (India), Hanoi T&T (Vietnam), Tampines Rovers (Singapore) or South China (Hong Kong) who will battle it out in early February for the right to make the trip to Geelong.
Press play on the video above to hear from Club captain Mark Milligan, Ambassador Grant Brebner and CEO Ian Robson have to say about the Geelong fixture.
If Victory wins the Geelong qualifier, played over one leg, the club will progress straight through to the group stages of the Asian Champions League (ACL), where the club will take on some of the best teams from across Asia, including reigning ACL Champion Guangzhou Evergrande (China), Jeonbuk Motors (South Korea) and Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan).
Melbourne Victory CEO Ian Robson said the club was thrilled to be able to bring top-flight Asian football to Geelong.
“There’s no doubting the importance of this competition to our club and we are delighted to be able to play this crucial qualifier in Geelong,” Mr Robson said.
“As a club, we’ve hosted many community programs in Geelong over the years and have been overwhelmed by support for our club, while the popularity and growth football is experiencing down there is remarkable.
“We’ve got no doubt the people of Geelong and its surrounding areas will fully support this match, as well as our Melbourne-based fans, with many expected to make the trip down the highway.”
Melbourne Victory Coach Kevin Muscat said the players and coaching staff were excited about a return to the Asian Champions League.
“We know how important this competition is to clubs throughout Asia and we will be putting our best players on the park in February’s qualifier in Geelong,” Muscat said.
“There are high expectations from the club, as well as our fans, for us to qualify and if we are successful we will take on some of Asia’s best teams - a mouth-watering prospect for all of us.
“In a World Cup year, we’ve got several players who are putting their hand up for Socceroos selection and strong performances in the Champions League, as well as the A-League, will do their chances no harm at all.”
The City of Greater Geelong’s Sport and Recreation portfolio holder Cr John Irvine said he was delighted to welcome Melbourne Victory back to Kardinia Park.
“Melbourne Victory is one of the most exciting sporting clubs in the nation and we always relish the opportunity to host a side of this calibre in Geelong,” said Cr Irvine.
“The Asian Champions League is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the City of Greater Geelong and our magnificent stadium in the international arena,” he said.
“Our stadium management is working closely with Melbourne Victory on the delivery of the event and we look forward to staging another fantastic international event under lights here in Geelong.
Cr Irvine said the Asian Champions League match was another example of the versatility of stadium as an international standard multi-purpose venue.
Tickets for the clash will go on sale on Tuesday, January 21 and can be purchased online at Ticketek or phone 132 849.