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AFC Recap: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Melbourne Victory (Agg: 3-2)

Just like watching Brazil; the Brazilian duo of Leonardo and Lopes linked up to score the second goal for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in last night's ACL2016 R16 clash against Melbourne Victory (Photo Credit: Howard Cheng)
Just like watching Brazil; Leonardo and Lopes linked up well to score the second goal for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in last night's Asian Champions League R16 clash against Melbourne Victory (Photo Credit: Howard Cheng)
A brace from Brazilian winger Leonardo helped Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors progress to the Asian Champions League quarter finals at the expense of Melbourne Victory. The K-League champions put aside their recent off-field controversy to sweep aside their Australian visitors, despite a late consolation goal from Besart Berisha that made for an uncomfortable finale.

This fixture was somewhat overshadowed by news 24 hours prior that Jeonbuk were under investigation by the K-League for alleged match fixing in 2013. While the club have since understandably distanced themselves from the individual in question, there was the danger that this could affect the mentality of the team going into this clash. Fortunately for the supporters present, the home side went about putting on an enjoyable display, overcoming what may have proved tricky tie.

Choi Kang-hee made one change to the side that drew the first leg in Melbourne, replacing defensive midfielder Jang Yun-ho, with attacking midfielder Luiz. Having scored a brace against Jeonnam Dragons in the Jeolla Derby the weekend before to help his team come back from behind, the Brazilian midfielder was rewarded with a starting spot in the hope he could repeat this form.

Melbourne Victory manager Kevin Muscat named an unchanged line-up from the first leg, notably offering the final appearances to Matthieu Delpierre, Kosta Barbarouses and iconic Victory talisman Archie Thompson.

Both teams started strongly, with Archie Thompson's efforts almost culminating in an opening goal in the fifth minute, only to see his initial header denied by keeper Kwoun Sun-tae and then the rebound cleared by Choi Chul-soon.

Both teams continued to press, with Choi Jae-soo going down on the edge of the area and earning the home side a free kick from a difficult angle. After his excellent direct free-kick in the first leg, Leonardo stepped up and curled in a shot that could only be helped in by the Melbourne keeper Thomas.

Leonardo scores his and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' first goal from a free kick against Melbourne Victory (Photo Credit: Howard Cheng)
Leonardo scores his and Jeonbuk's first goal from a free kick against Melbourne Victory (Photo Credit: Howard Cheng)
Jeonbuk almost doubled their lead immediately when in-form winger Han Kyo-won was presented with a chance on goal after a counter attack but managed to send his shot wide. 

The visitors did have a chance to level the scores just before half-time, with Jeonbuk keeper Kwoun Sun-tae suffering a rare lapse in concentration and spilling the ball when catching Nick Ansell's header. Fortunately his defence were on hand to spare his blushes by quickly clearing the loose ball.

Jeonbuk continued their dominance into the second half, but only really mustered one decent opportunity, a long range effort narrowly wide from Leonardo, before Choi Kang-hee decided to make his substitutions. 

Taking off Kim Bo-kyung for Lopes seemed a very attacking decision for a team already in the lead, but the managers choice almost immediately paid off. Ricardo Lopes proceeded to break quickly down the left, pulling the ball back to edge of the penalty area where an onrushing Leonardo to fire home first-time beyond Thomas.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors players rush over to congratulate Lopes for his role in Leonardo's second goal (Photo Credit: Howard Cheng)
Jeonbuk players rush over to congratulate Lopes for his role in Leonardo's second goal (Photo Credit: Howard Cheng)
There were efforts from both teams which hit the bar before the visitors eventually pulled one back in the 83rd minute, canceling out any away goal advantage the home team had. A cross in from Jai Ingham was flicked on by Berisha beyond the Jeonbuk keeper. With Melbourne Victory now only needing one more goal to progress, Jeonbuk resorted to defending deep for the final ten minutes, keeping the Australian side at bay until the full time whistle sounded.

Full Time: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Melbourne Victory (Aggregate: 3-2)

Brief highlights can be viewed on YouTube. For extended highlights, you can view them on Daum.


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