Bad road trip for Tianjin

Melbourne didn't prove a happy hunting ground for Tianjin Teda or their Dutch coach Arie Haan on Wednesday.

Melbourne didn't prove a happy hunting ground for Tianjin Teda or their Dutch coach Arie Haan on Wednesday.

Controversy or problems never seemed far away from the Chinese powerhouses on their trip down under.

Having flown 16 hours to Australia after playing a Super League game on Sunday night, Tianjin Teda had a 90-minute trip from the team hotel to their training pitch on the day they arrived.

Next was the threat from the visitors that they would refuse to play if the retractable roof at Etihad Stadium was not kept open, even with steady rain lashing the Victorian capital.

Under Asian Football Confederation rules, both teams must agree on any change regarding the stadium conditions from their familiarisation sessions.

Tianjin had their session on match eve under an open roof and that's how the Dutchman wanted it to stay as he explained when quizzed on the roof issue post-match.

"Football is open, it is not an indoor sport. I don't like it (the roof)," Haan said.

But the final blow for Haan and his men was the 2-1 AFC Champions League loss to the previously winless Melbourne Victory, having led 1-0 following Chen Tao's solo strike in the 37th minute.

It was the second time in two matches that Tianjin squandered a lead against the Australians, with the disappointment etched across Haan's face.

"We make a beautiful goal to go 1-0 up, but to be one goal down five minutes later was a bit hard for the players," Haan said.

"In the second half they did everything possible, took a lot of risks, in the end it was not enough. I can say nothing critical about the players in the second half."

Tensions flared right throughout the match as plenty of niggle was thrown in with nine yellow cards and a red awarded to Victory left-back Surat Sukha in the 82nd minute.

Haan was dismissive after being asked about his thoughts of the performance of Iranian referee Faghani Alireza.

"The game is over, I don't care about it," Haan said.

"I saw some things, it's good I don't play today."

For those who don't remember his playing days, Haan won 35 international caps for the Netherlands, highlighted by that stunning 40-yard strike against Italy at the 1978 World Cup.

Even with the defeat, Tianjin Teda remains at the top of Group E with seven points after Gamba Osaka accounted for Jeju United 3-1 in the other group match played on Wednesday night.

"All the time I said Jeju at home will be the most important game for us," Haan said.