Victory’s axed ACL duo will bounce back: Broxham

Melbourne Victory stand-in captain Leigh Broxham has backed Gui Finkler and Fahid Ben Khalfallah to bounce back from their AFC Champions League (ACL) exclusion and thrive in the Hyundai A-League.

With clubs allowed to select three foreign players plus one from another Asian Football Confederation nation, Victory faced a difficult decision. 

Finkler and Ben Khalfallah were the two imports to miss out on Victory’s ACL squad when it was revealed on Tuesday. 

Gui Finkler is set to return from injury against the Mariners on Friday night.

See the squad here

Victory coach Kevin Muscat picked marquee striker Besart Berisha, Kiwi winger Kosta Barbarouses and defender Matthieu Delpierre as his three imports for the continental stage.

Broxham didn’t shy away from the fact that Finkler and Ben Khalfallah were disappointed to miss out on the ACL but insisted it could benefit Victory as they look to defend their domestic titles.

“They’re obviously disappointed. They wanted to play Champions League football and you’d probably be disappointed if they’re not disappointed, you know?” Broxham said on Wednesday.

“All footballers are winners and they want to play in every game possible… There’s a lot of football coming up for them and I think they’ll be a catalyst for our A-League form as well.”

Fahid Ben Khalfallah was back to his best in Victory's 2-1 loss to Melbourne City on Saturday night.

After Saturday night’s 2-2 draw against Melbourne City, Victory have slipped to fifth in the Hyundai A-League table and sit six points adrift of leaders Brisbane Roar.

The Big V’s next test will be Adelaide United on Friday at AAMI Park, one of five games against fellow top-six sides before the finals.

Victory will also play five home games – four against top-six opposition – in the final eight rounds.

“You need to be beating the sides at the top to be premiers and to be champions, so it’s a no-brainer – these games we need to win and being at home they’re very important for us,” Broxham said.

Broxham and Co. were the last team to beat Adelaide in the A-League, with the Reds having strung 11 games together without loss since that 2-1 defeat in November.