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2019 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Ola Toivonen (29')
  • Cesinha (31')
  • Hwang Soon-Min (51')
  • Edgar (61')

Melbourne Victory slump to Daegu FC defeat in ACL opener

Melbourne Victory's Asian Champions League campaign suffered a major setback as they were beaten 3-1 at home by Daegu FC in their opening game.

Ola Toivonen made a scoring return, but goals for Cesinha, Hwang Soon-Min and Edgar left Victory with much to do if they are to reach the next round.

Victory had no answer to the sublime skills of Daegu's Brazilian forwards Cesinha and Edgar, with the result ending their 12-match unbeaten home run in the competition.

Kevin Muscat's side, in a midseason slump, bossed the contest for the first half-hour.

Toivonen and fellow World Cup star Keisuke Honda started together for the fifth time since arriving in Melbourne, and combined well.

Kosta Barbarouses linked with Honda to power through midfield before crossing for Toivonen, who beat his marker to volley home.

But Daegu's reply was swift and stunning as, two minutes later, Cesinha cracked a superb volley into the net.

The Korean side were in the ascendancy but had to wait until after the break to take the lead as Cesinha raced through midfield to tee up Hwang, whose shot deflected off Storm Roux and beat keeper Lawrence Thomas.

Edgar grabbed a third by outmuscling Thomas Deng and finishing another cross.

Honda had chances either side of the scoring -- a close range volley and a free header -- but fired straight at keeper Jo Hyeon-Woo both times.

Given the nature of the competition, Victory will need at least a point -- and preferably a win -- in their next match, against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Japan, to keep their hopes alive.

Victory boss Muscat denied that his team had been outclassed, but said their defending had not been good enough.

"The key tonight for us, we need to be more desperate and clinical in our box when we're defending," he said.

"They were clinical in finishing. At the other end we've created a number of chances tonight. We have to start taking more of them."

Earlier, the club put their ACL shirt sponsorship deal on ice on the day they announced it amid concerns over the sponsor's potential links to the gambling industry.