Melbourne City Ramp Up Preparations for AFC Champions League Campaign

Melbourne City are in the midst of a hectic period as they continue their preparations for the 2023/24 AFC Champions League.

Rado Vidosic’s side have been playing in the Australia Cup – a competition which will also help them get ready for the upcoming A-League season.

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Read on as we assess how City have fared in the tournament, before looking at some of the other latest developments from one of Australia’s top soccer clubs.

City Ease into the Quarter-Finals

After stumbling past Oakleigh Cannons in the first round, City stepped things up to defeat Wellington Phoenix 3-0 in the last-16 of the Australia Cup.

They now face a trip to Adelaide to face North Eastern MetroStars on September 14 in the quarter-finals, and are big favourites with the bookmakers to make further progress.

With top soccer betting sites listing City as 2/1 favourites to lift the trophy, it would be a major shock if they failed to reach the semi-finals.

City are one of five A-League sides remaining in the competition and they inevitably dominate proceedings at the top of the outright market.

At least one National Premier League team will reach the last four, with betting outsiders Melbourne Knights and Heidelberg United drawn to face each other in the quarter-finals.

However, having failed to win the competition since 2016, City will be desperate to deliver a winning return for soccer bettors who have retained the faith.

Maclaren ‘Proud’ to be Handed the Captaincy

All-time leading A-League goalscorer Jamie Maclaren has been rewarded for his efforts by being named as City’s captain for the 2023/24 season.

He succeeds the recently retired Scott Jamieson, and will be backed by vice-captains with Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout and Jamie Young this term.

Mclaren, who scored twice for City against Phoenix on his most recent outing, says he is ‘proud’ to be handed the chance to lead the Melbourne outfit.

“I know what it brings to carry the title of captain at this football club,” Maclaren told City’s official website.

“I’ve been part of a successful team here at City under a very successful captain in Scott Jamieson and have worked under another in PK (Patrick Kisnorbo), so I know what it takes.

“Being from this city, to be named captain is a special and proud moment for me and my family. I love this club and I’m excited to lead this team into a new era.”

City Start AFC Champions League Group Stage Fixtures at Home

City will embark on their second AFC Champions League campaign later this month with a home game against Japanese side Ventforet Kofu.

The two teams are scheduled to go head-to-head in Melbourne on September 20 and City are favourites with the bookmakers to record a victory.

Ventforet Kofu, who are currently mid-table in Japan’s second tier league, qualified for this competition by winning the 2022 Emperor’s Cup.

Group H also features Buriram United FC, who won a second consecutive domestic treble in Thailand last season and are a regular fixture in the AFC Champions League.

Chinese Super League outfit Zhejiang FC complete the line-up in a group City will believe offers them the chance to progress to the knockout stage.

They could secure a lucrative clash with a Saudi Pro League club, who dominate the outright betting for the AFC Champions League after signing numerous big-name players from Europe’s top leagues this summer.

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