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Guangzhou come back denies Victory

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A tough opening match day for Australia looked like turning around but Melbourne Victory couldn’t hold on as they fell 4-2 to defending Champions Guangzhou Evergrande in China on Wednesday night.

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With the A-League sitting on two losses after two matches the lowest ranked Australian side looked set to change that with a 2-0 lead at half-time.

But it was a second half that showed why Guangzhou are champions of Asia as they put Melbourne Victory to the sword and claimed all three points.

Victory had the first chance of the match with Jason Geria playing Mark Milligan clean through of the defense, only for Milligan to hit it right at the keeper.

That seemed to spark Guangzhou who went on from there with some slick passing almost catching Victory out but they were denied by a Nathan Coe save on Muriqui’s shot.

In the 36th minute Victory found the opener when Kosta Barbarouses returned a half clearance that Guangzhou’s keeper could only parry for Pablo Contreras, who was left onside, allowing him a simple finish.

Just before half-time and Melbourne Victory made it 2-0 and again it was a clearance that allowed Victory to score as it fell to Leigh Broxham who volleyed home to put Victory two up at the break.

After the break Muriqui was punished for his poor finishing as Marcelo Lippi replaced him with Liao Lisheng and it proved to be a master stroke as Guangzhou got back in to it.

The Chinese and Asian champions went for the match and early in the first half it was Contreras who saved Victory, clearing a free-kick off the line.

On the hour mark the Guangzhou pressure told as Huang Bowen hit a powerful shot from the edge of the area that left Nathan Coe with no chance.

In six more minutes Guangzhou were level as Alessandro Diamanti turned his defender and hit a powerful shot that Coe seemed to have covered but saw the ball burst through his hands.

The comeback was complete in the 71st minute when Elkeson collected a long ball before cotrolling and taking a shot that deflected off of Nick Ansell on the way in to the back of the net.

Melbourne Victory looked completely outplayed in the second half as they struggled to come to grips with the Guangzhou attack that tore them apart.

Guangzhou sealed the win with nine minutes to play when Diamanti nutmegged Contreras and then simply poked the ball past Coe to make it 4-2 for a final score.

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