Anthony Lesiotis could start for Victory in their Asian Champions League match. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Anthony Lesiotis could start for Victory in their Asian Champions League match. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Victory turn to youngster to tackle Hiroshima

MELBOURNE Victory teenager Anthony Lesiotis is primed for the biggest game of his short career, with the midfielder in line to start away to Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

It's understood that Olyroos defender Tommy DEng has been ruled out of Tuesday night's Asian Champions League Group F clash with a groin strain, suffered in last week's 3-1 home loss to Daegu FC.

DEng, who is at the centre of a club versus country debate after Muscat fumed about Football Federation Australia's handling of the Olyroos scheduling, failed to train in Victory's final session last night in Hiroshima.

His absence is likely to see Leigh Broxham returned to stopper, alongside James Donachie, leaving Lesiotis and captain Carl Valeri as the midfield options with Terry Antonis staying behind in Australia due to a knock.

However Valeri has yet to feature since limping off with a hamstring injury on February 2, leaving Lesiotis as the most likely inclusion.

It will be a massive test for Lesiotis, with the eyes of Asia on Hiroshima for Keisuke Honda's homecoming, although playing alongside the Japanese great will serve as a huge boost.

Lesiotis, who turns 19 next month, has impressed since he was poached from local rivals Melbourne City in January.

Tommy DEng (R) failed to train in Victory’s final session last night in Hiroshima. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Tommy DEng (R) failed to train in Victory’s final session last night in Hiroshima. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

He has made five appearances and one start - the 1-1 draw away to Wellington Phoenix - with his positional smarts and aggressive style at the base of midfield impressing coach Kevin Muscat and assistant Carlos Perez Salvachua.

Left-back Corey Brown is the other likely inclusion, after Broxham filled that role last week.

A near 11,000-capacity (for Champions League games due to seating requirements) crowd is expected at the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium for Tuesday night's clash, kicking off at 9pm AEDT.

News Corp Australia


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