Victory still kicking in ACL

Melbourne Victory resuscitated their AFC Champions League hopes with a remarkable 2-1 win over Tianjin Teda at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Melbourne Victory resuscitated their AFC Champions League hopes with a remarkable 2-1 win over Tianjin Teda at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

The home side scored two goals in three minutes on the stroke of the halftime break to secure their first win in Group E and provide interim coach Mehmet Durakovic his maiden success in charge.

It was a result Durakovic will look back on fondly after Victory trailed 1-0 following Chen Tao's fantastic solo effort for the Chinese visitors on 37 minutes.

Just seven minutes later Victory dragged themselves back into the contest through a slice of Carlos Hernandez brilliance.

The Costa Rican's hopeful 35-yard free kick attempt turned into something more substantial when it evaded Tianjin goalkeeper Zhao Yanming into the net.

But much of the credit for the goal must go to Victory captain Adrian Leijer, whose run for the ball caused the Chinese stopper to hesitate at the crucial moment.

Less than 120 seconds later, Victory was a goal up after Kevin Muscat slotted home from the penalty spot for his third goal of the campaign.

Muscat was presented with the chance when the lively Kruse was bodychecked by visiting captain Cao Yang inside the box following Archie Thompson's through ball.

It was redemption for Muscat, who was the guilty offender in the build-up to Tianjin Teda's goal.

The experienced defender was dispossessed by Chen Tao, who went on a mazy run before unleashing a shot past a despairing Tando Velaphi in the Victory goal.

While the second-half didn't produce any goals, there was no shortage of entertainment for the 5,683 crowd.

Isaka Cernak spurned Victory's best chance to kill off the Chinese visitors just four minutes into the second stanza.

The former North Queensland Fury man was played in by a lovely Kruse cross, but somehow blazed his shot over the top of an empty net when it seemed easier to score.

Speaking of Kruse, the Socceroo international was stretchered off in the dying moments with a suspected knee injury.

Tianjin had the better of the second-half opportunities, particularly late on as they enjoyed a man advantage following Surat Sukha's 82nd minute dismissal for a second bookable offence.

But a combination of a resolute Victory defence and profligacy from Tianjin in attack meant Velaphi was only called onto make a quality save on the one occasion.

Sukha's dismissal didn't come as a major surprise as Iranian referee Faghani Alireza stamped his mark on the contest with a flurry of cards.

In all, nine yellow cards and the red for Sukha were a reflection on how tensions flared throughout the 90 minutes.

And the controversy wasn't restricted just to the pitch, with the visitors refusing to play under a closed roof even as heavy rain lashed the Victorian capital.

Certainly the rule book was on the side of the visitors, who trained the day before the match below an open roof and AFC regulations state the training conditions must be the exact replica of game day.

Stadium officials stated their preference was to close the roof, but the rain only dampened the players for virtually the first half hour.

While they remain bottom of Group E with four points, Victory trails Tianjin by three points following Gamba Osaka's win over Jeju United.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Hernandez 44, Muscat 45+) Tianjin Teda 1 (Tao 37)