The coach of the A-League side says his team now have genuine hope of advancing after registering their first win in the group stageMelbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says his team have given themselves every chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League after beating Yokohama F Marinos on Tuesday night.
Victory claimed their first win of the 2014 group stages thanks to Kosta Barbarouses' early strike at AAMI Park, making it four points from three matches played for the A-League side.
They now face tough trips to take on Marinos and Jeonbuk Motors on the road, with a home match against reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande at Etihad Stadium sandwiched in between.
"We've put ourselves in a decent position now," he said.
"We needed to win, it was our second home game. We obviously have two on the road now. We needed to win today. So what that does do, after tonight's result, we'll have to wait and see. But it keeps us in a decent enough position.
"If we can win our last home game and pick up some points on the road, who knows where that's going to take us?"
Guangzhou defeated Jeonbuk 3-1 in China later on Tuesday, meaning the holders now lead the group on seven points, with the Korean side and Victory second and third respectively on four points. Marinos are bringing up the rear with just one point to show for their efforts so far.
Victory won despite resting the likes of captain Mark Milligan and playmaker Tom Rogic, prompting the suggestion Muscat might now feel vindicated after his squad rotation had come under scrutiny.
"I don't really look for justification to be honest," he said.
"If that was the case I would have told you that Archie (Thompson) scored in the 90th minute (against Perth) because we didn't play him last Wednesday," he said.
"But sometimes these things go for you and sometimes they don't. That's just the nature of the business. I genuinely believe that was the best team possible to win the game tonight."
The club's attention will now turn to an away match against A-League leaders Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.