Victory share the spoils
Kevin Muscat was happy to take a point from a see-saw Asian Champions League clash as Melbourne Victory drew 2-2 with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at Etihad Stadium.
Victory took a first-half lead through Nick Ansell, but in the end needed Kosta Barbarouses' 80th-minute goal to secure their first Group G point. The Korean side threatened to turn the game into a repeat of Victory's group-stage opener in China, where Muscat's side had led at the break but gone on to lose.
Lee Dong-Gook netted twice in the space of three minutes to put them 2-1 up, only for Barbarouses to level less than two minutes later.
From game to game we will pick a team that we think is good enough to win the match. I placed a high importance on the game tonight.Kevin Muscat
Victory coach Muscat defended his selection, with marquee pair Archie Thompson and Pablo Contreras missing and this season's top goalscorer James Troisi on the bench.
He said: "I didn't see it as a risk. We have got a number of games, that's how it is going to have to be. You have to expect it in the future. You can't play the same bodies.
"From game to game we will pick a team that we think is good enough to win the match. I placed a high importance on the game tonight."
Muscat said it was disappointing to ship two goals, but felt his team showed character to come back, adding: "I am pleased and proud of the players. We scored a good goal; I was relatively satisfied at half time. We had a very young team out there tonight."
The Koreans almost went ahead in the 29th minute, when Leonardo struck the crossbar, but less than two minutes later Victory made a set-piece count. Jesse Makarounas was fouled just outside the area, and Ansell headed home from the free-kick.
Jeonbuk forced keeper Lawrence Thomas into two excellent saves after the break before Dong Gook drew them level. First he converted a rebound after Thomas parried a long-range effort from Seung Gi, and his second was a spectacular effort from around 30 metres out.
The visitors failed to press home their advantage though when Mark Milligan's long ball gave Barbarouses the chance to equalise from close range.
Melbourne Victory are 7/4 to beat Perth Glory this round, with Glory 29/20 and the draw 12/5. Meanwhile, Western Sydney are 4/5 to beat Adelaide United on Saturday, with United priced at 10/3 while the draw is 13/5.
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