George salvages draw for Victory

08 March 2018 07:15:55 EST

Leroy George's penalty three minutes into injury-time gave Melbourne Victory a 2-2 draw against Kawasaki Frontale in the Asian Champions League.

Victory faced defeat against the J-League outfit who had lost their first two Group F games, until substitute Christian Theoharous was fouled inside the box.

George's spot-kick was straight down the middle and goalkeeper Shota Arai got his hands to the ball but couldn't keep it out.

It earned Kevin Muscat's side their second point in three games, but they are three points off the qualifying spots ahead of next week's return clash with Kawasaki.

They were under the cosh from the start at Todoroki Athletics Stadium, with goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas called into action several times.

He denied Shintaro Kurumaya on 15 minutes and then tipped clear a half-volley from the edge of the area by the same player after a poor clearance by Carl Valeri.

Midfielder Hiroyuki Abe then scuffed his shot after being played in by Kurumaya, but the defending J-League champions broke the deadlock soon afterwards.

A slick exchange of passes on the edge of the area saw Ryota Oshima shape to shoot before Kosta Barbarouses got a foot in. But the ball rolled to Brazilian Elsinho, who fired into the bottom corner of the net.

The visitors levelled 10 minutes before the break, just after Arai had tipped a close-range Barbarouses shot away. From George's corner, Besart Berisha bundled the ball into the net courtesy of a deflection by Kurumaya.

Kawasaki restored their lead 10 minutes into the second half when they carved open the visitors defence. Oshima split the Victory back four and found Kobayashi who supplied the cut-back for Kyohei Noborizato to tap into an empty net.

Melbourne Victory are 19/20 to win the A-League Grand Final and 2/5 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 13/2 with the draw 4/1.

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