Victory wary of Thai debutants in AFC Champions League

Former interim Melbourne Victory coach Carlos Salvachua Source: AAP

Melbourne Victory will be wary of AFC Champions League group-stage newcomers Chiangrai United when they face off on Tuesday night at AAMI Park.

The Thai champions have qualified for the group stage for the first time after winning Thai League 1 and Victory coach Carlos Salvachua says his team have to be "ready for everything" thrown at them.

"They did really well last year in Thailand.They won four finals last year - that means they are a winning team," Salvachua said.

"They are tough to play in games and, for sure, they want to start winning in Australia and in the first round.

"But we want the same - we want to start winning here in front of our fans in AAMI Park and just be ready to do everything, just be prepared to win.

Victory will be without the injured Robbie Kruse (hamstring) and Leigh Broxham (calf) but are otherwise unhindered and might see signings Marco Rojas and Giancarlo Gallifuoco feature heavily.

With a trip to next week FC Seoul, Salvachua emphasised the importance of securing three early points.

"It's really important because we know how difficult it is - travelling to Korea or travelling to Thailand," he said.

"We have to pick up three different flights to go to Korea.

"Of course, this is not easy and it is the opposite for the other teams and it's really, really important to start winning at home."

Chiangrai are expecting to field their strongest team.

Captain Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul said the game was an important opportunity to show Asia what Thai football was capable of, and a shop window for Chiangrai players to show their wares.

"Everyone is very excited to be here and (my) dream has come true," Sukjitthammakul said via a translator.

Chiangrai anticipate a large contingent of Melbourne's Thai community to attend the game.


* Chiangrai United are making their first appearance in the ACL group stages - they've never been beyond the playoffs in the past

* Melbourne Victory reached the group stage by beating Bali United 5-0 in Melbourne and Kashima Antlers 1-0 in Japan

* This is Victory's eighth appearance in the group stage. They have never been beyond the round of 16, which they reached in 2016.

Source AAP