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2018 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Elsinho (28')
  • Kyohei Noborizato (55')
  • Besart Berisha (36')
  • Leroy George (90'+3' PEN)

Late Leroy George goal helps Melbourne Victory earn point in Japan

Leroy George celebrates after scoring Melbourne Victory's winning goal against Kawasaki Frontale. Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

A stoppage-time penalty helped Melbourne Victory score a dramatic 2-2 Asian Champions League draw against Kawasaki Frontale at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium in Japan.

Leroy George converted the successful spotkick in the 92nd minute on Wednesday to secure a valuable point in Victory's quest to advance past the group stage.

The home had side dominated play from the outset with Shintaro Kurumaya amongst the busiest out wide early on.

He had the first real chance on the quarter hour which forced Lawrence Thomas into an impressive save.

After a poor clearance from Carl Valeri, Kurumaya cracked a left-footed half volley from the edge of the area but it was tipped clear.

Kurumaya was involved in Kawasaki's next chance when his cut-back teed up Hiroyuki Abe and despite the midfielder scuffing his shot, Thomas was called into action again.

The defending J-League champions eventually broke the deadlock on 28 minutes after a slick exchange of passes on the edge of the area.

As Ryota Oshima shaped to shoot Kosta Barbarouses tracked back and managed to get a foot in, but the ball rolled invitingly for Brazilian Elsinho, whose first touch was a powerful low drive into the bottom corner.

Despite falling behind and with chances few and far between, Victory pressed on and very nearly grabbed an equaliser on 35 minutes.

James Troisi and George combined to set up Barbarouses but the winger's close range shot was well saved by Shota Arai.

From the resulting corner whipped in by George, Besart Berisha bundled the ball into the back of the net courtesy of a deflection from Kurumaya.

The hosts started the second half in the same fashion as they finished the first and pressured Victory in the opening few minutes.

They eventually restored their advantage 10 minutes after the break, carving through Melbourne's defence with ease.

Oshima split the Victory back four and found Kobayashi who supplied the cut-back for Kyohei Noborizato to tap into an empty net and cap off a delightful team move.

With Kawasaki looking likely to record a much-need win, Melbourne substitute Christian Theoharous was fouled inside the box.

George stepped up and fired straight down the middle with an unconvincing spot kick which Arai got his hands to and probably should have kept out.

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