2018 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Kosta Barbarouses (90')

Kosta Barbarouses fires Melbourne Victory to win over Kawasaki Frontale

Melbourne Victory celebrate Kosta Barbarouses' late winner. Michael Dodge/Getty Images

A brilliant late strike from Melbourne Victory's Kosta Barbarouses sealed a stunning 1-0 Asian Champions League win over Kawasaki Frontale.

With the Victory third and the Japanese side last in Group F going into the match, both sides desperately chased the three points in an entertaining affair at AAMI Park on Tuesday night. Barbarouses finally found the back of the net in the 90th minute to seal a breathtaking win in front of 6,639 fans.

With two matches left in the group stage, the result puts the Victory right in the hunt to progress to the round of 16.

"It's a proud night for us," coach Kevin Muscat said. "To take four points off them over two games ... we're still well in the competition.

"We'll go into the next game with something to play for."

In what is sure to be a major talking point, Victory striker Besart Berisha was furious at being substituted in the 70th minute, storming past Muscat to take his place on the bench.

The result was made all the more impressive when the blistering start by the reigning J-League champions is taken into account.

Kawasaki's crisp ball movement opened up the home side time and again, with Kei Chinen unlucky not to convert one of two gilt-edged scoring opportunities.

Yoshito Okubo's searing strike from just outside the penalty area 10 minutes in forced a brilliant save from Lawrence Thomas, who tipped the ball onto the crossbar.

But having absorbed the opening blows, the Victory warmed into the contest and were unlucky not to go ahead in the 20th minute when James Troisi's strike was cleared off the line by a defender after a horror mistake by the Kawasaki keeper.

Thomas was called into action again when he somehow managed to gather Okubo's shot from point-blank range before the Victory's Thomas Deng drove a shot over the bar.

It was end-to-end stuff after the restart as both teams redoubled their efforts.

Substitute Yu Kobayashi's header found the back of the net, but was flagged offside, with the Victory denied by the post soon after.

It didn't look like it was going to be the Victory's night when strident appeals for a penalty after Christian Theoharous was felled with less than 10 minutes remaining were waved away.

But as the match entered injury time, Barbarouses latched onto a Troisi assist and stroked the ball between the keeper and the near-post to cap a stunning win for Muscat's men.

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