Victory pledge to attack Shanghai in ACL

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is not putting the brakes on his side in the ACL.They’re playing one of Asia’s best teams in their backyard but Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat pledged to have a go at Shanghai SIPG in their Asian Champions League clash on Tuesday night.

On Tuesday, Muscat’s out-of-form Victory will confront Brazilian trio Oscar, Hulk and Elkeson as well as some top Chinese talent in their second ACL match in a week.

They began with a closely fought 3-3 draw with Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai last Tuesday at AAMI Park.

Muscat wants a similar attacking intensity to their campaign opener.

“I want us to go out and ask questions. I want us to have a go … I don’t want to come here and give them all the ascendancy,” he said from Shanghai on Monday.

It’ll be a tough task, given the pedigree of their Brazilians.

Oscar was signed for about A$90 million from English Premier League side Chelsea after winning two titles with the London club.

Shanghai SIPG paid about A$75million to secure Hulk, the club’s captain, from Zenit St. Petersburg of Russia in 2016.

While Elkeson is without a high-profile European career, he has been the best performed in China – with 110 goals over six seasons in the Super League – having steered Guangzhou Evergrande to two Asian titles and three championships in China.

Muscat also acknowledged Wu Lei, the Chinese national team winger, who will also pose challenges for Victory’s fullbacks.

Victory’s coach is refusing to be intimidated.

“When you get to this point, they’re all good teams,” he said.

“They’ve got some threats. We’ve got to be very smart about how we go about things.

“But the second half the other day against Ulsan, we were knocking the ball around and playing some really good stuff ourselves.”

After a home draw to begin, Victory are in danger of losing touch without three points in Shanghai but Muscat denied this was a “must-win” match.

“It’s not necessarily do or die. There’s a lot that unfolds in the four games post this,” he said.

“You get a good result and it puts you naturally in a better position.”

Muscat has a full squad to choose from after the return to health of Stefan Nigro and Thomas Deng.

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