Victory leave it late to keep AFC Champions league hope alive

Kosta Barbarouses fired home a dramatic last-minute winner to keep Melbourne Victory in the hunt for the last 16 of the AFC Champions League with a 1-0 victory against Kawasaki Frontale on Tuesday. The Group F rivals, who drew 2-2 in Japan last week, were again deadlocked until the New Zealand winger got on the end of a chest down from Terry Antonis in the 90th minute to smash home with his left foot for Melbourne’s first win of the campaign.

It lifts Victory to five points, level with Ulsan Motors who were playing Group F leaders Shanghai SIPG in a later match, and all but mathematically eliminates Kawasaki who languish bottom with just one point from their four matches. Kawasaki, quarter-finalists last year, started the stronger and Yoshito Okubo rattled the crossbar inside 10 minutes as the visitors controlled the first half at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

After the break, Antonis for Victory and Okubo for Frontale both shot narrowly wide. Kawasaki thought they had taken the lead with 10 minutes to go when substitute Yu Kobayashi headed home at the back post only to see the offside flag raised.

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