Contreras likely to miss ACL Korea game

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is likely to rest veteran Chilean defender Pablo Contreras and leave him out of the travelling party that will fly to Seoul on Sunday as his team faces its do-or-die Asian Champions League clash with Jeonbuk next Tuesday.

And the navy blues, who inched through to the A-League semi-finals with that last-gasp Gui Finkler goal against Sydney on Friday night, will also be without captain Mark Milligan, who is suspended for the Jeonbuk game.

Contreras played against Guangzhou Evergrande on Tuesday night in the ACL and also was a key figure on Friday. It is thought that a trip to Seoul, followed by a quick back-up in Australia next weekend, might just prove beyond the experienced stopper.

But Muscat is not taking the game lightly and will not prioritise the A-League final next weekend over the Champions League. Victory needs to win in South Korea to be certain of progressing.

The coach said after Friday's win: ''It'd be disrespectful of me to the playing group now if my focus is not 100 per cent on Jeonbuk. We want to make sure that result and that performance on Tuesday night [when they beat the reigning Asian champions Guangzhou] doesn't get wasted. I can't wait. I'm not running around, but I can't wait.''

Finkler's late winner was a major boost for the ACL campaign as it meant Melbourne, which was playing its third game in six days, did not have to face extra time.

''It helped, without doubt. I'm not going to hide away from that fact because an extra half-hour on top of the three games in six days would have been a big ask. But I wouldn't have put it past the group [to overcome that].

''There's a sheer determination and attitude that the players … want their actions to reflect a team that wants to be very ambitious and be very successful. The actions that I'm seeing in training, in and around the office, in games, is clearly of a group that … wants to be successful. Even at the death there, when it could have been easy to walk, there was sheer determination to win a football game.''

It is unlikely that Tom Rogic, who has been carrying an injury and missed the first A-League final, will be available for the Jeonbuk match.

Victory travels to Seoul on Sunday, endures a four-hour bus ride to get to its opponent's city, plays on Tuesday and then returns on Wednesday before preparing for its next finals game at the weekend.

The story Contreras likely to miss ACL Korea game first appeared on WA Today.

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