Victory qualify for Champions League
by Tomasz Ng:
AFC Champions League 2014, Play-off East 3
7:45pm, Saturday 15 February, 2014 – Kardinia Park, Geelong
Melbourne Victory FC 2
(James Troisi 58’, Leigh Broxham 82’)
Muangthong United FC 1
(Mario Durovski 22’)
Melbourne Victory have qualified for the AFC Champions League group stage following a 2-1 playoff win over Muangthong United of Thailand in a highly entertaining contest.
Mario Durovski scored directly from a corner to stun the hosts in the first half, but Victory found their way to a win through goals from James Troisi and Leigh Broxham.
Melbourne Victory started brightly and dominated the opening exchanges, making the most of the room Muangthong were giving them.
But despite getting in behind the visitors defence on multiple occasions they failed to get any real shots underway, with the final ball lacking in particular.
Tom Rogic came closest to scoring in the ninth minute, after Ansell headed a corner back into the danger area and the Celtic loanee pounced, seeing his header just go wide of the post.
Muangthong were calculated in their counter attacking efforts, but looked threatening when Durovski and Teerasil Dangda got on the ball.
The Thai striker sent a warning shot at the Victory, receiving the ball in his own half before beating the Victory defence with a lovely turn, but as he shaped to finish, Scott Galloway was on hand to put enough pressure to force the shot wide.
Durovski and Teerasil then combined a few minutes later, with the Macedonian midfielder curling a long shot just wide of the post.
The home side then had a golden chance in the 18th minute when James Troisi was played in by Barbarouses, but his shot was well saved by the keeper who stuck out his left leg.
He was to rue not taking that opportunity when Durovski stepped up to take a corner in the 22nd minute.
The midfielder swung a cross aimed for a near post runner, but Galloway and Coe were caught off guard and the ball sailed into the goal untouched.
It was a soft goal to concede, especially against the run of play and Coe didn’t instil more confidence when Anuwat sent in a stinging shot from long range, where he spilt the ball but thankfully there was no danger around.
The Thai side were looking much better and Teerasil was once again in the thick of the action, playing in fullback Thitiphan, but luckily for the Victory the shot was blocked.
Sensing they had to grab back some control of the game, Victory produced a sweeping move that saw Barbarouses get to the byline.
His cutback went to Troisi but his finish was brilliant blocked by a defender and the ball just went over the bar.
They were once again caught on the counter and Teerasil was played in, but his shot from outside the box was palmed away by Coe.
Just before the eventful half came to an end, Victory won a penalty after Thompson was felled in the box.
The referee mistakenly sent off Piyaphon for a second yellow, before realising his error and calling the player back.
Victory skipper Mark Milligan then stepped up to take the penalty but missed it after the keeper saved it down low to his left.
The home side didn’t start things well after the break, and Teerasil was once again played in behind, but while Coe came out well to save the first attempt, the striker skewed the follow up wide.
Teerasil then switched onto the flank and sent in a cross for Durovski, who unleashed a volley at goal which pulled out a brilliant save from Coe.
Looking as if it wasn’t going to be their night, Victory then finally found the equaliser in the 58th minute after a wonderful cross from Galloway found Troisi, and the attacking midfielder powered a header into the goal.
Muangthong were still looking dangerous however, and almost regained the lead through substitute Jay Bothroyd.
The big centre forward skipped around a defender before trying a shot with the outside of his left boot but the shot was well saved by Coe.
It was then Troisi’s turn to miss a gilt edged chance, as he skewed his shot well wide after being played through by Broxham.
Then the game turned in the 82nd minute, after Thompson had a curling effort saved by Visanusak.
The ensuing corner from Troisi was placed straight on the head of Mark Milligan, but Visanusak pulled off a stunning save to tip it round the post.
Victory then scored from the subsequent corner, when Bothroyd’s clearance only went as far as Broxham, who rifled a shot at goal that went into the back of the net courtesy of a deflection from Thitiphan.
Muangthong we’re now desperate for a goal, but sent a couple of efforts sky high.
Victory then had a chance to seal the contest when Thompson was one on one with the keeper, but he failed to chip the ball over Visanusak.
Troisi then had another golden chance to seal it in stoppage time after a sweeping Victory attack, but Visanusak was again on hand to save his shot.
The game came to a spiteful finish after captain Datsakorn Thonglao was sent off for attacking Broxham, with a minor melee breaking out.
Victory will now face Guangzhou Evergrande, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Yokohama F. Marinos in Group G.
Melbourne Victory FC:
1. Nathan Coe [GK], 2. Pablo Contreras, 3. Adama Traore, 4. Nicholas Ansell, 5. Mark Milligan (c), 6. Leigh Broxham, 9. Kosta Barbarouses (13. Andrew Nabbout +65’), 10. Archie Thompson, 14. James Troisi, 21. Tom Rogic, 24. Scott Galloway
Unused Substitutes: 20. Lawrence Thomas [GK], 16. Rashid Mahazi, 17. James Jeggo, 22. Jesse Makarounas, 25. Jason Geria, 27. Dylan Murnane
Yellow Cards: Ansell 17’, Thompson 90+6’
Red Cards: Nil
Muangthong United FC:
39. Visanusak Kaewruang, 3. Tossapol Lated (34. Phairod Sokham +90’), 4. Piyaphon Buntao, 7. Datsakorn Thonglao (c), 10. Teerasil Dangda. 19. Inyin Anuwat (9. Jay Bothroyd +54), 20. Mario Durovski (11. Wuttichai Tatong +81’), 23. Milan Bubalo, 25. Thitiphan Puangjan, 28. Suriya Singmui. 36. Sarawut Masuk
Unused Substitutes: 38. Patiwat Khammai, 13. Chainarong Tatong, 16. Sarach Yooyen, 35. Weerawut Kayem
Yellow Cards: Thitiphan 7’, Piyaphon 45+1’, Durovski 69’
Red Cards: Datsakorn 90+4’
Referee: Masaaki Toma (Japan)
Assistants: Sagara Toru, Nagi Toshiyuki, Kimura Hiroyuki
Pitch Rating: 9/10
Game Rating: 10/10
3. James Troisi (MV)
2. Mario Durovski (MU)
1. Leigh Broxham (MV)
By Tomasz Ng