Sasa strikes back against Victory
Sasa Ognenovski has made a triumphant return to Melbourne, scoring a goal as Korean outfit Seongnam Ilhwa recorded a crucial 2-0 away win against the Victory in their AFC Champions League match on Tuesday night.
Sasa Ognenovski has made a triumphant return to his home town of Melbourne, scoring a goal as Korean outfit Seongnam Ilhwa recorded a crucial 2-0 away win against Melbourne Victory in their AFC Champions League match at Docklands Stadium on Tuesday night.
The last time Ognenovski set foot on Melbourne's home ground was in last year's A-League Grand Final when his Adelaide team lost 1-0 to the Victory.
But he got a measure of revenge for that heartbreak when he slid home the opening goal of a scrappy match in the 40th minute.
Yun Young Sun sealed the result with a goal in the 85th minute.
The win puts Seongnam in a great position to progress having taken six points from two games while Melbourne, which was backing up just two days after an epic semi-final in Sydney, is pointless after two matches.
It leaves the Australian champions with a mountain to climb with their next ACL match against Kawasaki Frontale in Japan just three days after the A-League Grand Final.
The home side's team sheet was indicative of the hectic schedule it had already endured as it went into the match without experienced trio Kevin Muscat, Tom Pondeljak and Grant Brebner, while key attacking duo Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez started on the bench.
It was a scrappy opening half with more action off the ball than on it.
There were four bookings in the first 45 as both sides struggled with the timing of tackles.
Seongnam had the first chance, with Mauricio Molina's angled shot saved while on 21 minutes a fierce long shot from Kim Sung Hwan went over the bar.
Costa Rican Marvin Angulo had Melbourne's best chance of the half, latching onto some good work from Robbie Kruse and Nick Ward but hitting his shot straight at Jung Sung-Ryung.
A few minutes later, the Seongnam keeper collided with Young-Sun with both fortunate to escape injury.
Keeping with the nature of the game in the first half, Ognenovski's goal on 40 minutes was far from pretty.
Ward gave away a free kick in a dangerous area and Molina delivered the ball into the box.
It hit Leigh Broxham then hit the bar before rebounding out of Mitch Langerak's grasp.
Former Queensland and Adelaide defender Ognenovski was there to put the ball away.
It was the second time in as many ACL matches that Melbourne had been breached by an Australian after Joel Griffiths had scored the only goal in Victory's 1-0 opening defeat to Beijing.
Melbourne looked to increase its attacking options by bringing on Hernandez at half-time, but it was the visitors who looked more threatening with Molina shooting just wide early in the second half.
After Angulo narrowly shot wide on 54 minutes, Melbourne played its ace with Thompson, who scored the goal which booked the Victory's A-League Grand Final berth 48 hours earlier, replacing Nik Mrdja.
Molina and Angulo were looking the men most likely to score for their respective sides and in quick succession just after the hour they both had excellent chances but shot across the goal.
Melbourne pressed hard for an equaliser, but Kruse stumbled in the box and Hernandez fired long and straight at the keeper.
Those misses were to prove costly as Song Ho-Young won a corner and from that Young-Sun rose unmarked to nod the ball home.
Melbourne victory 0 Seongnam Ilhwa 2 (Ognenovski 40, Young Sun 85) Crowd: 7899 at Docklands Stadium