Melbourne Victory completed its AFC Champions League campaign with an impressive 2-1 win over Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday.
A youthful Victory, which had Christian Theoharous (18), Pierce Waring (19), Josh Hope (20) and Thomas Deng (21) start and Birkan Kirdar (16) make his debut for the club, claimed its second win in Group F.
Waring scored his first goal for the club, only for his effort to be cancelled out by Lin Chuangyi for the Chinese giant.
But Victory found a deserved winner in the second half as Jai Ingham headed in a 68th-minute goal.
Victory made a lively start as the likes of Kenny Athiu and Theoharous in particular looked dangerous.
It was Theoharous who almost struck first in the 25th minute, the 18-year-old firing wide after being played in by Athiu.
At the other end, Matt Acton made a save down low to keep out a long-range effort from Elkeson on the half-hour mark.
Victory took a deserved lead five minutes before half-time.
Athiu was released down the left and the striker crossed for Waring, who under heavy pressure from Zhang Wei found the bottom corner.
But the visitor equalised prior to the break, Lu Wenjun cutting back for Lin to finish clinically from inside the area.
Waring and Athiu almost combined again to begin the second half, but the latter fired over the crossbar.
Another great chance fell to Athiu in the 62nd minute, the striker blazing over from inside the area.
But Victory would restore its lead after a fine start to the second half.
Terry Antonis found space on the left before delivering a wonderful cross for Ingham to head into the top corner.
Acton was called into action to keep Victory ahead, making a great save to deny Hulk, who was causing plenty of problems.
Victory held out in the closing stages, keeping Shanghai at bay to claim three points.
Player in focus
What they said – Ingham
on the win…
"It was good for all us young boys to get a bit of an opportunity to play tonight and I thought they were unbelievable. Pierce, Kenny and Chrissy up front, they were very, very good tonight so it was a good win."
on the performance…
"At training you can see it as well. At training every day we're doing the same things and it just showed on the pitch tonight that we can match it with the best so it was good."
on not progressing…
"It was disappointing, the last game in Korea, but that's how football is. We know how good we are as a team and now we look forward to (Hyundai A-League) finals and I think we can go all the way."
AFC Champions League 2018 Match Day 6
Melbourne Victory 2 (Pierce Waring 40', Jai Ingham 68')
Shanghai SIPG 1 (Lin Chuangyi 45')
Melbourne Victory: Acton (gk), Deng (Broxham 77'), Donachie, Williams (c), Nigro, Antonis, Hope (McGilp 84'), Ingham, Theoharous, Athiu, Waring (Kirdar 88')
Kawasaki Frontale: Sun (gk), Zhang Wei, Shi, Fu, Yu (Wang 45'), Lin (Li 67'), Zhang Yi, Chen (Hulk 45'), Lu, Hu, Elkeson
Yellow cards: Hope 36', Yu 37', Nigro 42', Deng 57'
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Victory returns to Hyundai A-League action on Sunday, hosting Adelaide United in an Elimination Final at AAMI Park. Tickets available here.