Melbourne City will look to make it back-to-back AFC Champions League wins when it faces Buriram United in Thailand on Wednesday night.
City has extended our ACL undefeated streak to eight games after first playing in the competition early last year but faces a big test in Buriram United who are yet to taste defeat in the Thai League this season.
Here are a few of the key talking points ahead of our Matchday 3 clash.
Moving on quickly from Saturday
It was a disappointing start to the A-League Men’s season for your City boys, going down to Western United after conceding a late penalty.
Jamie Maclaren was unlucky not to find the back of the net after having what looked to be the opener ruled out due to straying just offside in the first half, then only being denied in the second by a world-class save from Thomas Heward-Belle.
After going behind on the stroke of the hour, it took just two minutes for City to respond through some lovely play from Tolgay Arslan, with Maclaren also involved by playing a smart one-two to be credited with the assist.
The late penalty would ultimately mean it was all for nothing but a chance to respond is just around the corner.
Rado Vidosic’s side will have their work cut out for them against Buriram United, who qualified for the ACL after a dominant 2022/23 season where it secured the domestic treble.
Currently undefeated through seven games in the Thai League this season, our opposition sit third in our ACL group after having won 4-1 at home against Zhejiang on Matchday 1, before going down 1-0 away to Ventforet Kofu.
More magic in midfield
While of course unhappy to leave AAMI Park with nothing on Saturday, City fans would’ve been pleased with the form of midfield maestro Tolgay Arslan on his league debut.
He wasted no time in showcasing his quality, putting in a Player of the Match performance and controlling the tempo of the contest throughout the 90 minutes.
While of course the goal was the highlight, Arslan impressed with his composure on the ball and creativity in attack.
Hamza Sakhi also gave a good account of himself in the middle of the park, providing some highlights with some smart flicks and well-timed through balls.
Last time out in the ACL we saw an unfamiliar transitional type of game but if this one moves to a more possession-based style, the creativity of Arslan and Sakhi will be key to ensure City can manufacture enough chances to come away with what would be a big three points.
Finishing the first half of Group H on top
Following Wednesday night’s fixture, we’ll be at the halfway point of the Group Stage, making a result against Buriram even more important after winning our last ACL fixture away to Zhejiang.
Currently sitting top of the table on goals scored, City will have the chance to reach that conclusion of the first set of fixtures on top of Group H.
Given two of our remaining three gameswill be played at home, this would provide a huge opportunity to progress to the Round of 16.
Elsewhere in the group, Zhejiang are set to host Ventforet Kofu in a match that will kick off at the same time as our clash in Thailand.
AFC Champions League: Matchday 3
Buriram United v Melbourne City FC
Wednesday 25 October, 9:00pm KO (AEDT)
Watch live on Paramount+
Feature Image Credit: AFC Champions League