Melbourne better equipped for rematch with Beijing, says Kean
November 27 2020 12:39 AM
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Melbourne are the only Australian side to have notched up a win in this year’s AFC Champions League and are in with a good chance of reaching the knockout stage.

AFC/Doha

Melbourne Victory will be well placed to challenge Beijing FC in the second of two 2020 AFC Champions League matches played between the clubs in the space of four days, according to coach Steve Kean.
The Chinese side were impressive 3-1 winners at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday and have established themselves as the standout team in Group E, but their Australian opponents are confident of an improved performance at the same venue today.
Tuesday’s hit out was Victory’s first in Doha, and their first competitive match since August, and Kean is sure his side will have gained from the experience. “Our preparations have been very good for this match,” said the former Blackburn Rovers boss.
“We’ve seen it as a benefit that we’re again playing against the same team. We take a lot of positives from the first game, especially the way we finished the first half and the way we finished the game, was particularly pleasing for us.”
“We do feel that legs in the competition and playing your very first game against such a tough opposition, in such a high-profile competition is a good barometer of where we are. You can’t invent these types of high-quality games. They are what they are. We feel we’re a lot closer to where we want to get to at the end of this competition by having that first game. We feel as though we’re in a better place. We’re confident and are hopeful we can get something from the second game.”
With three points on the board from their win over Chiangrai United back in February, Victory are the only Australian side to have notched up a win in this year’s AFC Champions League and appear to be only side from the country still with a good chance of reaching the knockout stage.
To do that, they will likely need to finish higher than FC Seoul, who thrashed Chiangrai 5-0 last time out, but Kean said he is looking no further than Friday’s clash against Beijing.
“Both Grant (Brebner) and I stayed behind to watch that match, but we have to almost park that aside and really put our focus on this match (against Beijing),” he said. “If we can get a positive result (against Beijing), it puts us in a very strong position for the third match (in Doha).”
With the group at its halfway point, it appears to be a matter of when and not if Beijing FC will join Japan’s Vissel Kobe in qualifying for the Round of 16, with the Chinese club easing to three wins from as many matches.
With a loaded match schedule still to come, Beijing boss Bruno Génésio could be forgiven for resting some of his more pivotal players in the remaining group stage fixtures, but the Frenchman said he needs to weigh up his players’ recovery with the rhythm of regular football.
“In the last match we already made three changes,” said the former Olympique Lyonnais boss. “It’s very important to find the balance between bringing the new fresh players in and keeping the players in a good rhythm. Players like to play matches, so we need to find the balance between those two points.
“We’ll play against the same team as our last match, so for us the most important thing is how our players can concentrate in this game. They need to remain focused and need to play seriously. That’s the big challenge. The advantage is that we’ve also learned about (Melbourne Victory) from the last game, now we know them better, and it’s important that our players finish the game with a good attitude.”



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