Matchday Six - Group F: Melbourne deny Shanghai SIPG
Melbourne: A second-half header from Jai Ingham ensured Melbourne Victory finished their 2018 AFC Champions League campaign on a positive note with a 2-1 win over Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday.
With the home side already eliminated and Shanghai SIPG guaranteed of finishing top of Group F, there was little for either side to play for at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, but that didn’t stop either side from going all out looking for the three points.
It was Kevin Muscat’s men who created the best of the early chances, with Terry Antonis and Christian Theoharous going close before the deadlock was finally broken in the 40th minute. Melbourne striker Kenny Athiu was released into space down the left and crossed the ball into the box where Pierce Waring, making his first appearance in this campaign, side-footed the ball home.
The visitors wasted little time in restoring parity, however, with Lin Chuangyi finishing a nice move from Elkeson and Lu Wenjun on the stroke of half time.
Both teams pushed for a winner in the second half, with the introduction of Hulk at the break providing extra spark to the Shanghai attack.
But as lively as the Brazilian was, it was the home side who found the winner when Terry Antonis’ floated cross into the box on 68 minutes was headed home by Ingham to win the match for his side and inflict Shanghai SIPG their first defeat of the campaign.
The win was just Melbourne’s second of the group stage, as they finished third in Group F on eight points, behind Shanghai SIPG and Ulsan Hyundai.
Shanghai SIPG now look forward to a Round of 16 clash against Japanese heavyweights Kashima Antlers next month.