Victory begin AFC Champions League with 2-1 win

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Melbourne Victory have kicked off their AFC Champions League campaign with a stirring 2-1 victory over Shanghai SIPG at AAMI Park.

Only 10,000 fans walked through the turnstiles but it was an intense spectacle, the win not coming without controversy and niggle.

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Shanghai started the first half with all guns blazing and within the first 15 minutes they already had a shot cleared off the line from a corner and one that hit the side netting.

Victory ironically had good possession but the final ball was lacking.

At the half hour mark it was a smash and grab as Elkeson’s blistering shot was blocked by Nick Ansell. The ball then landed to Oliver Bozanic whose beautiful through ball found Jai Ingham, who took on the defenders and netted his first goal to make it 1-0.

On the brink of halftime Shanghai wasted two golden opportunitys to equalise, Asamoah Gyan’s ball to Elkeson was snuffed out by Danny Vukovic and Wu Lei’s long range shot past the keeper but was tidied up by Daniel Georgievski.

Shanghai’s equaliser came seven minutes into the second term from a striving run by Elkeson on the left. Questionable defending allowed his cross to evade everyone and find Wu Lei’s head, who made no mistake.

Perhaps the most contentious moment came at the 73rd minute as Kosta Barbarouses was brought down by Lu Wenjun. It appeared to be outside the box but the ref paid the penalty and Besart Berisha then converted to make it 2-1.

It was a penetrating finish in Melbourne. Victory should have doubled the lead when Jason Geria played in Berisha and it looked a certain goal one-on-one but the shot went wide.

Shanghai piled on the pressure and with ten minutes left Lu Wenjun’s cross found Wu Lei’s head which was blocked by Georgievski.

At the 84th minute Vukovic became the hero of the evening with a crucial save, Wang Shenchao playing it through to Wu Lei who looked certain to level once more.

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With minutes remaining Victory should have killed off the game as Barbarouses played it through to Connor Pain who had only the keeper to beat. The resultant shot however hit the post.

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Melbourne Victory held on to win their opening match of there AFC Champions League campaign 2-1, leaving them in a good position early on.

Melbourne Victory: 1. VUKOVIC Danniel, 2. GERIA Jason, 4. ANSELL Nick, 5. GEORGIEVSKKI Daniel, 6. BROXHAM Leigh, 8. BERISHA Besart (92’ 19. HOWARD George), 9. BARBAROUSES Kosta, 10. THOMPSON Archie (90’ 22. MAKAROUNAS Jesse), 13. BOZANIC Ollie, 17. DELPIERRE Matthieu, 23. INGHAM Jai (78’ 11. PAIN Connor)

Shanghai SIPG: 1. YAN Junling, 3. GYAN Asamoah (59’ 11. LU Wenjun), 4. WANG Shenchao, 6. CAI Huikang, 7. WU Lei, 9. ELKESON, 10. CONCA Dario, 14. JU YOUNG Kim, 21. YU Hai, 22. FU Huan, 27. SHI Ke

Attendance: 9701

Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim

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Clement Tito
Currently studying at Deakin University in Melbourne, Clem has experience writing on AFL and has worked at Preston Leader Newspapers in Victoria. He loves reporting, spectating, discussing and playing both AFL and football.

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