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2019 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Jai Ingham (26')
  • Huang Bowen (24')

Melbourne Victory 'B' team hold Guangzhou Evergrande to draw

A reserve-strength Melbourne Victory have earned a first point of their AFC Champions League campaign, drawing 1-1 with visiting powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande on Tuesday night.

Jai Ingham kept up his scarcely-believable record of scoring against Asian opposition, equalising two minutes after Huang Bowen's opener.

Talisca missed a hatful of chances to win the tie for Fabio Cannavaro's side, who disappointed their thousands of red-clad fans at AAMI Park.

There was little on the line for Victory, with A-League finals around the corner and all but eliminated from the competition prior to the first whistle, and so coach Kevin Muscat rang the changes.

Missing in action were all five of Victory's foreigners, veteran Leigh Broxham and injured midfielder James Troisi.

Those left included fit-again pair Lawrence Thomas and Terry Antonis, captain Carl Valeri, key defenders Thomas Deng, James Donachie and Storm Roux.

From then on it was a rogues gallery of fringe players and unsighted NPL talent, including five teenagers on the bench.

But to be fair to the Victory seconds, they were up for the contest. Whereas Victory's best XI were down two goals within nine minutes of the reverse tie -- eventually losing 4-0 -- on Tuesday, the B-Team carved out chances and were unlucky to go behind on 24 minutes.

Captain Paulinho carved a path through the box, cutting back for Huang who sidefooted home with little attention.

Victory quickly found a response when Antonis picked the ball up from Talisca's slip, playing a ball into the box that fell kindly to Ingham for his third in the ACL. The 25-year-old has just one goal in a five-year A-League career.

Both sides had chances to win the game; Talisca will rue making poor contact from two crosses either side of half-time and an overhead kick that fell narrowly wide.

Victory might have also won a penalty when Park Ji-Soo muscled out Kenny Athiu in the box as he prepared to shoot.

As the minutes ticked down, there was enough time for 18-year-old Jack Palazzolo to make a senior debut but not enough for either side to find a winner.

Muscat was delighted with the response from their last clash with Guangzhou.

"It was a totally different performance. Night and day," he said. "They worked really hard understanding the quality of the opponent ... it was very pleasing."

Cannavaro was frustrated by Victory both on the park and in his comments after the match.

"The were very defensive, very well organised in a defensive way and didn't give us much time," he said. "Tonight we had the chances and we couldn't do better."