Ambitious A-League club Melbourne City will be driven to qualify for the Asian Champions League (ACL) for the first time with Sunday’s clash away to Perth Glory to decide their fate.
The club, owned by City Football Group, broke through for their first silverware this season when they lifted the FFA Cup but missed out on the Premiers’ Plate.
City remain in contention for the championship but no side has ever won that coming from outside of the top two, which looks particularly challenging given Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory’s dominance this term.
However, one of City’s clear goals is to play in Asia, with third spot likely to earn them a play-off in next season’s ACL and an opportunity to be part of the continent’s elite.
City currently is level on points with fourth-placed Brisbane Roar but ahead by +1 on goal difference.
Roar hosts Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, with City getting the benefit of playing later in the day at Glory and Malik said clinching third spot was a big focus.
“For us it’s massive,” Malik said.
“We want to be a club that can challenge for all the titles and Asia is massive.
“It’s the biggest club competition in Asia. For us it’s huge.
“Third spot gives us an opportunity to qualify if we’re good enough.
“We’ve been working towards that for the last couple of weeks.”