Kawasaki shock for Melbourne

Melbourne Victory has failed to open its account in the AFC Champions League group stage, suffering a 4-0 defeat against Kawasaki Frontale in Japan.

Melbourne Victory has failed to open its account in the AFC Champions League group stage, suffering a 4-0 defeat against Kawasaki Frontale in Japan.

Melbourne was clearly battling fatigue after its epic Grand Final against Sydney just three days earlier and Kawasaki took full advantage scoring three goals inside the first 21 minutes.

Melbourne, helped by the first half send off of goalscorer Chong Tese, was able to form a rear-guard action from that point, but it was simply damage limitation. Hiroyuki Taniguchi scored late on, while Leigh Broxham was sent off to complete a shocking night for the Victory.

The 2009 champions are now pointless after three games and trail Kawasaki by three points and second-placed Beijing Guoan by six.

The means that Melbourne, which hoists Kawasaki next Wednesday, requires three points from each of its final three games and for Beijing to fail to pick up more than three points or Kawasaki six points in that time.

The early goals came from Chong Tese, Masaru Kurotsu and Renatinho.

After three minutes, Renatinho beat two Melbourne defenders and slid a perfect pass to Chong Tese at the near post. The North Korean international made no mistake from the angle, and it was 1-0.

The warning signs were certainly there for Melbourne and on nine minutes, Chong Tese got clear again and shot just wide.

The home side won a free kick soon after and a precise effort from Yukuke Tasaka found Kurotsu unmarked in the box. His shot was half-accidental but was good enough to beat Glen Moss and make it 2-0 after 11 minutes.

With the ball sliding along the slippery surface quickly, both sides were making plenty of fouls and five players were booked in the first 30 minutes of the game.

Melbourne's first decent chance came from a Carlos Hernandez set-piece on 19 minutes, but the Costa Rican blasted it into the wall. Renatinho showed how it was done two minutes later, collecting the ball in the midfield, powering into space and unleashing a shot which again gave a hapless Moss no chance.

The visitors' first shot on goal came in the shadows of half time when Robbie Kruse won a free kick, and after it was taken quickly, Rody Vargas sucked in at the near post, only to head wide.

In an extraordinary end to the half, Chong Tese was sent off for kicking Grant Brebner when the Victory midfielder was trying to help him up.

Renatinho continued to torment Melbourne down the right wing and on 54 minutes, Evan Berger was replaced by Matthew Foschini. Marvin Angulo then replaced Robbie Kruse and Victory enjoyed their best period of the match.

But possession and time in their attacking half produced nothing of substance for Melbourne, which failed to test out Eiji Kawashima in the home side's goal.

Nik Mrdja had a couple of good chances, but over ran the first and shot over with the second, while Hernandez pulled wide from range. Up the other end, a brilliant piece of athleticism saw Moss deny Tokanobu Komiyama.

Nick Ward made way for Mate Dugandzic late on and the youngster impressed, creating a couple of opportunities which unfortunately resulted in nothing of note, meaning Melbourne has yet to score a goal in this ACL campaign.

Taniguchi kept his head in a goalmouth scramble and scored from close range in the final minute before Broxham was shown a second yellow card.

Melbourne Victory 0 Kawasaki Frontale 4 (Chong Tese 3, Kurotsu 11, Renatinho 21, Taniguchi 89) At Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium