Midfield action with Tom Pondeljak of Victory and Park Hyun Bem of Jeju United
Melbourne Victory 1 Jeju United 2
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Victory lost its first match at home in the 2011 Asian Champions League Group E to Jeju United from South Korea by two goals to one on Tuesday night at Etihad Stadium.
It was Mehmet Durakovic’s first game as coach of Victory, following the departure of Ernie Merrick at the weekend.
The Koreans faced a tough schedule with a league match at the weekend and another coming up at the start of their domestic season and were without a number of their senior players.
Victory was also depleted as Robbie Kruse succumbed to a hamstring strain, allowing new signing from North Queensland Fury, Isaka Cernak to make his debut.
Carlos Hernandez, Rodrigo Vargas and Billy Celeski were all on the bench.
The mobile and accurate Koreans took the match to Victory early on.
Corner kicks caused the Victory real problems and in the twentieth minute Hong Jeong Ho connected with one from the left and hammered it goalwards only for Marvin Angulo to head clear from right on the goal-line.
Victory took the lead somewhat against the run of play in 37 minutes but it was an excellent goal.
Adrian Leijer won the ball strongly in midfield and found Tom Pondeljak, whose pass released Archie Thompson.
The Socceroo striker squared the ball to Danny Allsopp and though the big man had a lot of work to do, he beat a couple of men coming in from the right then fired past keeper Kim Ho Jun with the aid of a slight deflection by Kang Min Hyuk.
JeJu replied three minutes later following a corner kick. Bae Ki Jong’s inswinging kick was only half cleared by Isaka Cernak and straight to Park Hyun Bem, who promptly fired it back through the wall of bodies, with keeper Michael Petkovic unable to block it.
Kim Eun Jung almost gave Jeju the lead a couple of minutes afterwards as he controlled a long ball forward and shot only to find Petkovic almost on top of him to ensure the save.
Victory had its chance to restore its lead on the stroke of half time as Tom Pondeljak, Victory’s best player in the first half, struck a volley which the keeper only just managed to tip over the bar.
In the second half Victory came more into the game as the Koreans seemed happy to soak up the pressure.
Hernandez replaced Marvin Angulo in 58 minutes and made a difference in attack for the home side, setting up a move which culminated in Thompson rounding the keeper only to squeeze his shot wide of the post.
Thompson also fired a neat back-heel from Allsopp over the bar and then Kevin Muscat came up for a corner kick and also blazed over.
The Koreans were now in counter-attacking mode and Victory was caught out by one of those.
The winning goal came in the 84th minute when substitute Kang Soo Il put through a diagonal ball and Lee Hyun Ho nipped in between Matthew Kemp and Kevin Muscat to finish from close range.
Overall the Koreans probably deserved to win though Victory will rue a string of missed chances, particularly in the middle period of the second half.
A home defeat virtually ensures that Victory will not reach the knock-out stages of this year’s Asian Champions League.
Coach Park Gyeong Hoon was happy to get three points on the road after an opening round defeat at home. He felt the young replacements in the team performed well and all pulled together to gain the result.
Mehmet Durakovic felt that the Victory players had given everything but was disappointed that they continued to play narrowly in attack, as they had tended to do throughout the season.
He intends to do the work on the training track to ensure this does not happen in the remaining four games, in which he is confident of getting some good results.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Daniel ALLSOPP 37’) Jeju United 2 (Park HYM BEM 40’, Lee HYUN HO 84’)
Date: 15 March 2011
Competition: Asian Champions League Group E Rd 2
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30 pm
Referee: Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh
Assistant Referees: Mohn Sabri Bin Mat Daud and Mohd Kamil Bin Tumin
1. Michael PETKOVIC, 2 Kevin MUSCAT, 5 Surat SUKHA (17 Matthew FOSCHINI 66’), 7 Matthew KEMP, 8 Grant BREBNER, 10 Archie THOMPSON, 11 Marvin ANGULO (16 Carlos HERNANDEZ’), 15 Tom PONDELJAK, 18 Danny ALLSOPP, 19 Isaka CERNAK (14 Billy CELESKI 82’), 23 Adrian LEIJER.
Unused substitutes: 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 12 Rodrigo VARGAS, 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 30 Tando VELAPHI
Yellow cards: Matthew KEMP 86’
Red cards: nil
1 Kim HO JUN, 3 Kang MIN HYUK, 5 Park HYUM BEM, 7 Kim YOUNG SIN (6 Choi WONK WON 54’), 13 Ma CHUL JUN 14 Kim TAE MIN (4 Kim INHO 64’), 15 Hong JEONG HO, 16 Bae KI JONG, 18 Kim EUN JUNG, 22 Lee HYUNHO, 39 SANTOS
Unused substitutes: 9 Kang SOO IL, 10 Shin YOUNG ROK, 21 Han DONG JIN, 29 Lee SANG HUP, 35 Kwon YONG NAM
Yellow cards: 22 Lee HYUNHO 7’
Red cards: nil