Victory ends Asian adventure in style

An inspiring return from Archie Thompson saw Melbourne Victory end its maiden AFC Champions League campaign in style with a 3-1 win over Chonburi FC at Telstra Dome on Wednesday evening.

An inspiring return from Archie Thompson saw Melbourne Victory end its maiden AFC Champions League campaign in style with a 3-1 win over Chonburi FC at Telstra Dome on Wednesday evening.

Thompson came off the bench in the second half following an eight week break and had an immediate impact on the contest, putting Victory in front and setting up the goal that sealed the result for the home side

Brazilian striker Ney Fabiano De Oliveira capitalised on a defensive lapse to net the Thai side-s only goal on 55 minutes, before Kevin Muscat replied with an equaliser less than 60 seconds later.

Thompson rounded Chonburi goalkeeper Kosin Hathairattanakool and converted from a tight angle on 65 minutes and continued to dazzle the Victory faithful when he sent a low cross to Carlos Hernandez, who doubled Victory-s lead.

“It-s been a frustrating last 6-8 weeks for myself, just watching the guys and not actually feeling apart of the AFC Champions League,” Thompson said.

“The medical staff have been really working hard with myself and it-s just good to be back out there and finishing the AFC Champions League with a win.”

The result saw Victory move above Chonburi and Korea Republic-s Chunnam Dragons to claim second place on the Group G ladder, seven points behind Japan-s Gamba Osaka, which advanced to the Knockout Stage.

“The boys played well for the whole game,” Victory Coach Ernie Merrick said.

“It-s amazing when you get your full squad in - we lost Carlos and Archie early in the piece - they play good football.

“It-s an enormous credit to the coaching and support staff; while I was away they did a great job.

“It was just great to finish on such a high note.”

Victory was dominant from the onset with Billy Celeski, Nick Ward, Tom Pondeljak and Hernandez all testing Hathairattanakool, while teenage goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak thwarted several Chonburi attempts at the opposite end.

Following a scoreless first half, Chonburi took the lead through Ney Fabiano, who gained possession of a stray defensive clearance and scored his second goal in as many matches against Victory.

Intent on avenging Victory-s loss in Bangkok two months ago, Muscat converted a Celeski corner kick from close range that caught out Hathairattanakool and gave the Victory skipper a clear shot on target.

The introduction of Thompson sparked the home side, which continued to create chances and went in front when the Socceroos striker received a pinpoint through ball from Danny Allsopp and calmly netted his first AFC Champions League goal.

Thompson was amongst the action again when he delivered a pass from the left flank to Hernandez, who made his first start in Asia-s premier club competition and secured three points with a powerful shot from inside the penalty area.

Victory will now look ahead to its blockbuster friendly against Italian giant Juventus FC at Telstra Dome on Friday, 30 May.

Tickets for the match are available from any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 136 100 or by logging on to

Melbourne Victory 3 (Kevin Muscat 56-, Archie Thompson 65-, Carlos Hernandez 77-) Chonburi FC 1 (Ney Fabiano De Oliveira 55-) Wednesday, 21 May 2008 Telstra Dome, Melbourne Referee: Salem Mujghef Crowd: 9958

Melbourne Victory: 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 4.Steven PACE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 9.Daniel ALLSOPP, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ (19.Evan BERGER 81-), 18.Leigh BROXHAM (21.Sebastian RYALL 77-), 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD, 24.Billy CELESKI, 25.Tom PONDELJAK (10.Archie THOMPSON 61-)

Substitutes not used: 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 6.Steve PANTELDIS, 11.Nathan ELASI, 13.Kaz PATAFTA

Chonburi FC: 3.Natthaphong SAMANA, 7.Arthit SUNTORNPHIT, 10.Pipob ON-MO (Captain), 12.Ney Fabiano DE OLIVEIRA, 13.Phaisan PONA, 17.Kriangkrai PIMRAT (5.Phanuwat JINTA 71-), 18.Kosin HATHAIRATTANAKOOL (gk), 24.Ekaphan INTHASEN (11.Baga JULES YVES STEPHANE 71-), 25.JANTAKAM Chonlatit, 27.Surat SUKHA, 29.Jetsadakorn HEMDAENG

Substitutes not used: 1.NAKNAYOM Sujin (gk), 16.ANUWAN Nikorn, 23.Teerasak PO-ON Yellow cards: Ney Fabiano De Oliveira 67-, Jantakam Chonlatit 69-