Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Melbourne Victory bow out of Asian Champions League

Melbourne Victory bowed out of the Asian Champions League when they drew 0-0 at Docklands tonight with Chinese champions Beijing Guoan.

Melbourne might have had a penalty in the 19th minute when Beijing’s goalkeeper appeared to bring down Robbie Kruse, but the Singaporean referee waved play on.

The visitors were the better side in the first half and had numerous chances but were unable to score.

Melbourne’s Kevin Muscat and Sukha were both booked as the home side defended desperately, knowing they had to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the round-of-16 stage alive.

Melbourne finally got on top in the final 15 minutes, but their only chance came in the 76th minute when a superb shot by Marvin Angulo almost caught out Beijing’s keeper. He managed to parry the shot with one hand and, when the ball fell to Nik Mrdja, he fired straight at the keeper.

Last year’s Football Superstar winner, Luke Pilkington, came on for Nicky Ward in the 83rd minute.

Melbourne had the better of possession (53% to 47%), but Beijing spent 56% of the match in Melbourne’s half.

Beijing had 10 corners and Melbourne just two, while both sides were caught off-side on four occasions.

Melbourne committed 19 fouls and Beijing 15, while Melbourne had just 6 shots on goal (four on target) compared to Beijing’s 17 (five on target).

Melbourne got the ball into the opposing penalty area 17 times, while Beijing did so 27 times.

Each keeper had four saves to make.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick said he was disappointed that the club’s Asian Champions League campaign was over, but he was pleased that his players, including several youngsters, had stepped up to this level of competition.

He said he felt Melbourne could have scored a couple of goals against Beijing.

Melbourne have, in fact, scored just once in the tournament, and that was from a penalty.

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