The K-League's all-time leading scorer nearly derailed Melbourne Victory's spell in Group G of the Champions League on Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium. But Kosta Barbarouses' late goal kept the Victory relevant heading into Match Day 3, providing a 2-2 draw against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Yokohama F. Marinos were held to a 1-1 draw against Guangzhou Evergrande in the group's other game.
Jeonbuk's Leonardo hit the crossbar before the half-hour so it was Nick Ansell who scored the only goal of the first half, knocking in a Jesse Makarounas free kick in the 31st minute. Yet just like Match Day 1 when Melbourne took a half-time lead against Guangzhou Evergrande, the Victory managed to cede significant ground and ultimately the lead in the second half.
Longtime Korean star Lee Dong-Gook found the first goal for the visitors when he rebounded a saved shot by Lee Seung-Gi in the 76th minute. Just three minutes later, Lee hammered in a terrific shot from well outside the box to send the Green Warriors into the lead. After a similar collapse in China two weeks ago, it looked like the Victory could be demoralized and beaten. Until Barbarouses got on the end of a through ball from Mark Milligan and dramatically equalized for the hosts.
Up next for the Victory is home game against Yokohama F. Marinos, who are currently atop Group G, on Tuesday March 18 at AAMI Park. If Melbourne are to have any hopes of staying within striking distance of second place, they'll need to win against the J-League's second place finishers. Between now and then, the Victory travel to Perth where they will face the A-League's last place Glory on Saturday March 15.
MVC Ansell (Makarounas) 31'
JHM Lee Dong-Gook 76'
JHM Lee Dong-Gook 79'
MVC Barbarouses (Milligan) 80'
Melbourne Victory: Thomas; Traore, Ansell, Geria; Milligan, Broxham; Jeggo (Troisi 80'), Makarounas, Rogic (Mahazi 73'); Barbarouses, Nabbout (Pain 46')
Unused substitutes: Coe, Galloway, Alan, Murnane
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors: E. Choi; Lee Kyuro, Wilkinson, W. Park, Lee Gang Jin; B. Choi (Mun 76'), Leonardo, Lee Seung-Gi, Kwon (Marcos 58'), Han (S. Park 83'); Lee Dong-Gook
Unused substitutes: Lee Bum Soo, Lee Ju Yong