Victory plays out thrilling draw with Ulsan

Melbourne Victory played out a pulsating 3-3 draw with Ulsan Hyundai in its opening AFC Champions League outing on Tuesday.

Summary

Leroy George produced a scintillating display at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, scoring twice and setting up a goal for Rhys Williams.

But Victory trailed three times in the Group F clash as Mislav Orsic struck twice for the K-League outfit, either side of a Richard Windbichler header.

Led by George, the host managed to respond on each occasion to come away with a point.

Victory put the visitor under early pressure, while Lawrence Thomas was called into action, easily saving a long-range Jeong Jae-yong effort.

Williams almost opened the scoring in the 21st minute, but the defender's strike after a one-two with James Troisi was deflected wide.

But Ulsan took the lead three minutes later, Orsic driving a powerful 35-yard free-kick into the bottom corner.

However, Victory responded immediately through George.

Besart Berisha pounced on a loose ball before forcing Kim Yong-dae into a low parried save, with George on hand to tap in the rebound to make it 1-1.

Ulsan restored its lead in the 34th minute, Windbichler heading in a corner at the near post.

But, once more, Victory responded quickly.

After playing into the feet of Berisha, George received a pass back and fired Victory level once more.

However, for the third time, Ulsan took the lead as Orsic struck again early in the second half, the Croatian curling a fine effort into the top corner from 20 yards.

And, once again, Victory equalised immediately.

A George set-piece from the right found Williams, who headed in unmarked to make it 3-3.

Ulsan struck the post from a corner moments later, while George almost put Victory ahead in the 76th minute after combining with substitute Kenny Athiu.

But while both teams pushed in the closing stages, neither was able to find a winner in Melbourne.

Player in focus

Opta Widget: George

What they said – George

on the result…
"I think we were the better team, we had also the better chances, but we couldn't finish the game with three points."

on the team's response…
"The important thing is to just keep the ball and try to create chances and then you're going to enjoy the game by yourself. I think it was a good performance by the whole team."

on linking up with Berisha…
"We were more free to play and that's why we get more opportunities to play in small areas, to create chances and I think it was good, but still disappointed about the one point."

on Ulsan…
"They scored two set-pieces and I think in the A-League we are one of the best teams defending set-pieces and today was unlucky."

Result

AFC Champions League 2018 Match Day 1
Melbourne Victory 3
(Leroy George 26'/37', Rhys Williams 54')
Ulsan Hyundai 3 (Mislav Orsic 24'/51', Richard Windbichler 34')

Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Geria, Williams, Donachie, Broxham, Valeri (c), Antonis (Hope 90'), Troisi, Barbarouses (Theoharous 85'), Berisha (Athiu 72'), George
Ulsan Hyundai: Kim Yong-dae (gk), Kim Chang-soon, Windbichler, Kang, Park, Lee, Jeong, Kim Seong-ju (Kim Geon-ung 81'), Hwang, Toyoda (Junior 77'), Orsic (Kim In-sung 88')

Yellow cards: Jeong 36', Barbarouses 49'
Red cards: Nil
Attendance: TBA
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

Opta Widget: ACL1

Next up

Victory is next in action with a trip to Shanghai SIPG in its second AFC Champions League game on Tuesday, February 20.