Melbourne Victory remain unbeaten in this season’s AFC Champions League following a hard-fought 1-1 draw against the Suwon Bluewings in South Korea on Wednesday night.
Two goals in two minutes saw the sides again share the points on matchday 4 in Group G as the match lit up on the hour mark at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.
Bluewings star Kwon Chang-hoon, who was a constant threat for the home side, opened proceedings only for Victory to go up the other end and equalise through Kosta Barbarouses with their first shot on target of the night.
Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas put in another distinguished performance between the posts, while Besart Berisha went close to nicking all three points with a delicate chip shot.
The result sees Kevin Muscat’s side retain second spot in the standings as they moved to six points, with Shanghai SIPG beating Gamba Osaka 2-0 in the other result of the group on the night.
Victory made three changes to the team that secured their place in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series on the weekend with Jason Geria, Archie Thompson and Jai Ingham drafted into the starting side.
The visitors withstood a barrage of chances in the opening stanza as they struggled to maintain possession and assert any meaningful pressure on their K-League opposition.
Suwon’s “Special Kwon” was the chief architect with the South Korean international having a shot cleared off the line, before blazing just over the crossbar with a stunning bicycle kick.
Lee Sang-ho also came close when he was left unmarked at the back post, Thomas pulling off a stunning save to deny his header which came agonisingly close to crossing the line.
Suwon deservedly opened the scoring when Chang-hoon made a run in behind the defence and was able to turn his shot in off Thomas’ near post.
However Victory replied immediately with Barbarouses scoring from a tight angle with a fierce right-footed effort going into the far bottom corner.
Both teams had chances to win it in four frenetic minutes of added time but it finished 1-1, delivering a precious point for Kevin Muscat's side.
Melbourne Victory will continue their ACL campaign in China when they travel to face group leaders Shaghai SIPG in a fortnight's time before welcoming Gamba Osaka on the final matchday of the group stage.
AFC Champions League 2016 Match Day 4
Suwon Bluewings 1 (Kwon Chang-hoon 58')
Melbourne Victory 1 (Kosta Barbarouses 60')