Decks cleared for battle in Geelong
Melbourne Victory and Muangthong United from Thailand cleared the decks for their battle in the Asian Champions League qualifier in Geelong on Saturday night.
Both coaches, Kevin Muscat for Victory and Phom Chomchearn for Muangthong, batted aside the pre-match controversies to express their confidence that their teams were up for the match and determined to proceed to the group stage of the competition. Assistant coach, Phom Chomchearn, took over the response for the visitor in the absence of Scott Cooper, who reportedly accused the Australian club of trying to destabilise the opposition.
Muscat said he expected both teams to be trying their utmost to win and that Muangthong had dangerous individuals and he did not expect the off-field issues to upset the visitors. ‘Both teams will be trying their utmost to win.’ He said he was happy the game was being played in Geelong. ‘Thousands of our fans travel up the road to support us and we are returning the favour’.
Phom Chomchearn was very calm and confident arguing that his team had played against tough teams in Europe and Asia and would not be intimidated by a physical approach by Melbourne Victory. Both teams were under pressure to qualify and he hinted that the game plan would be to avoid conceding a goal and hitting on fast breaks. He was convinced that the club’s experience in the Asian Champions League would help and what had happened off the pitch ‘definitely does not hurt us’. The proof will be in the encounter tomorrow night which kicks off at 7.45 pm at Kardinia Park. The pitch is in excellent condition and a good crowd is expected.
Captions for featured pic
Mark Milligan and Kevin Muscat in relaxed mood before the press conference in Geelong.