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Melbourne Victory's Merrick gunning for ACL survival

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick is holding onto hope that his team can remain alive in the Asian Champions League tonight. The Victory, pointless after their opening three group stage matches, take on Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale at Etihad Stadium tonight and desperately need a win to stay in the race for qualification to the Round of 16.

After a tough couple of weeks which saw them lose the A-League Grand Final, Merrick is confident his team is back to its best and expects a win tonight.

''In the last ACL we only won two and drew one game, so mathematically we still feel there's a chance here," Merrick said.

"It's been 10 days since the grand final and I think most of the players are over that now and it's about focusing on what is a very difficult job in trying to qualify for the next level and finish in second position.

''We are going to have a go. We have got nothing to lose now and we are focused on moving forward in the ACL … there's a good spirit in the camp."

The Victory will welcome back inspirational captain Kevin Muscat who sat out last week's 4-0 defeat in Japan but midfielder Leigh Broxham will miss due to suspension.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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