Victory's Kruse to start against Tianjin

by AAP on Apr 19, 2011

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Star striker Robbie Kruse will return to the starting line-up as Melbourne Victory seek a much-needed Asian Champions League win over Tianjin Teda on Wednesday night.

The bottom-placed Victory earned their first point in three group games with a 1-1 away draw against the Chinese side on April 5, when substitute Kruse played a key role in erasing an early deficit.

That performance has given Melbourne confidence they can take all three points in the return match at Etihad Stadium.

"We'll be going out there for three points straight from the kick-off," caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic said.

"We'll be trying to get as many players as we can forward and create as many chances as we can, as much as we did against Tianjin the other week.

"Hopefully we'll do that and hopefully we get the three points."

Kruse, who did not start in the last match partly because of a heavy pre-game travel schedule, will be pivotal, after troubling the Tianjin defence.

"He absolutely did quite well when he came on, and you've got to reward the players for what they've done," Durakovic said.

The coach said with Archie Thompson and Isaka Cernak also in the side, there would be an attacking focus.

"We want to push up as much as we can, we want to push Robbie as much as we can forward, we want to push Isaka as much as we can forward, help Archie up there," he said.

"We'll be going with an attacking line-up, hopefully with three up front, so we'll see how we go."

Tianjin will be without their Serbian captain Marko Zoric, who was sent off in the last match for a crude tackle.

Victory defender Adrian Leijer said there was plenty of niggle in that encounter, which set the scene for another spicy clash, given it was fresh in players' minds.