Melbourne City host Ventforet Kofu AAMI Park in its opening match of the AFC Champions League campaign on Wednesday (September 20).
The hosts secured their place in the finals as Australian A-League champions, while Kofu qualified thanks to their surprise triumph in the Japanese Emperor’s Cup last season.
Melbourne scored a 2-1 away win against the NSW Metrostars in the quarter-finals of the Australian Cup last week. Austin Ayoubi put the Metrostars in front in the 27th minute.
However, an exciting end to the match made Curtis Good’s level important in the 84th minute. Tolgay Arslan then scored the winning goal from his penalty recovered in stoppage time to lead his team to the semi-finals.
Kofu, meanwhile, shared the spoils in the 1-1 draw with Verdy in the J2 League at home. Goals in both halves by Junma Miyazaki and Itsuki Someno secured part of the spoils.
They are now turning their attention to the mainland, where they were drawn in Group H alongside Melbourne City, Zhejiang Professional and Buriram.
Melbourne City v Ventforet Tip
Ventforet defied expectations by winning the Emepror Cup last year and taking part in continental football for the first time.
However, his form before the tournament leaves much to be desired. It is not known whether the team from the Japanese second division will be able to reach the required level.
For his part, Melbourne is the favorite to lead this group, and starting with the foot on the ground in front of his fans will be the minimum expectation. Expect the hosts to get a comfortable victory, and also not to concede goals.