Melbourne Victory hosted the Suwon Bluejays to a goalless draw in their AFC Champions League Group G clash in Melbourne on Tuesday.
The hosts, who remain at the top of their group after the result, were unable to capitalise on their limited chances as the teams battled to a draw at AAMI Park.
It was the first time the two teams had met and unfortunately it was a night to forget, with neither side managing to break the deadlock.
In a match yielding few chances, attackers on both ends struggled to find form or the back of the net, with Melbourne the only side to get a shot on target, much to the disappointment of the small crowd.
The opening half saw Suwon dodge a bullet when Sin Se-gye sent a horrendous back-pass to Bluewings stopper Dong-Geon No that was headed goalbound, but No was just quick enough to prevent a disaster.
Melbourne also had a chance when Kosta Barbarouses sent a brilliant ball into the path of Besart Berisha and Archie Thompson in the box, but neither could make a connection.
In the second half, Victory thought they had the opening goal when Thompson headed home from Barbarouses’ corner, but the forward was judged offside.
Sunwon had their best opportunity with just 12 minutes remaining as Baek Ji-hoon put Kim Jong-min into space 20 yards in front, but his shot would skew off the side of his boot.
Despite the poor showing, Kevin Muscat’s men will be pleased with the result, which secures them a place in the knockout stages for the first time in five attempts.
Meanwhile, the Bluewings pick up their first point of the competition but remain firmly at the bottom of Group G.
“It was a typical away performance from them naturally,” said Muscat.
“They are a disciplined and extremely fit team. When you combine those two ingredients it’s hard to break the opposition, especially when their mindset is as it was. They made it tough for us and we created two or three half chances and at this level you’ve got to take one of those – if you do it’s a totally different game.
“Having said that, I thought we worked tirelessly to try and create an opening, to try and get in behind them. It wasn’t to be, but it was a good solid performance from us.”
Suwon coach Seo Jung-won was impressed with the young players on the night.
“After a long journey here to Australia, we played with our young players and our young players played very well,” said Jung-won.
“I was satisfied with the attitude and the play of the youngsters. Although we are still in the bottom of our group, we still have two home games and I think we still have a good chance to quality to the next round. It was a tough game.
“We couldn’t get three points, but we are satisfied with one point as we changed seven players from our last game in Korea. If we brought all of our best players then maybe the result would be different, but it’s meaningless in football. One point is very valuable in an away game.”
Here is what the fans had to say…
That was a very ordinary Korean team. 2 points dropped, plain & simple. #MELvSUW
— Doughy (@chelt_dough) March 15, 2016
Victory definitely needing some spark. Looking a little flat and subdued! #MELvSUW
— Zenon Caravella (@caravella_fa) March 15, 2016