Tianjin upsets Victory

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has praised his team's performance despite losing the Lord Mayor's Cup to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda 2-1 on Sunday.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has praised his team's performance despite losing the Lord Mayor's Cup to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda 2-1 on Sunday.

The Victory were forced to play the majority of the second half with 10 men after striker Archie Thompson was controversially sent off.

The A-League champions were down 2-0 at half time after goals from Chi Rongliang and Han Yanming, but Melbourne roared back into the contest thanks to a Nick Ward cracker three minutes into the second stanza.

However, Melbourne failed to get an equaliser, with Tianjin goalkeeper Zhao Yanming making a number of high quality saves including one from Victory captain Kevin Muscat from the penalty spot that would have levelled the score.

"I'm very happy with both performances, but disappointed by both results, especially losing the Lord Mayor-s Cup," Merrick said from China.

"We had to play with 10 men and we did really well."

"Our midfield is looking really strong. We had (Grant) Brebner and (Leigh) Broxham with (Tom) Pondeljak and (Nick) Ward on either side."

"Our defence is pretty much back to full strength with Kevin (Muscat), Rodrigo (Vargas), (Matthew) Kemp and Evan (Berger)."

"Danny Allsopp's right on top of his game and Archie looked terrific until he got sent off."

"We're still trying to work out why Archie was sent off, but apparently it for was dissent towards the linesman. It was very strange."

"One of the aims of the trip was to get our midfielders scoring goals and the competition for midfield spots now is very good," Merrick added.

The Victory now return back to Melbourne, where Merrick confirmed that injured duo Steven Pace (shoulder) and Ney Fabiano (ankle) will require further scans, but that the 'initial signs are not as bad as we thought in both cases'.