Victory advance to knockout stages

Melbourne Victory have become the first A-League club since 2016 to reach the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League.

Needing a win overnight in Qatar to seal a round of 16 berth, the Victory beat Korean team FC Seoul 2-1.

The win secured them second spot in Group E with seven points from six matches.

It was the first time in four years that an A-League club had progressed to the round of 16, with both the Victory and Sydney FC having done so in 2016.

The Victory now meet Group F winners, Korean club Ulsan Hyundai, on Sunday night for a spot in the quarter-finals.

With nothing less than a win required to progress from the group stages, the Victory made a dream start against FC Seoul, scoring in just the fifth minute through their New Zealand international Marco Rojas.

GOAL! A lovely finish by Marco Rojas to give us the lead in Doha #MELvFCS 1-0 #ACL2020 @FOXFOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/BJP0YxPTN7

It got better for the Victory in the 23rd minute when Jake Brimmer converted from the penalty spot to double the Melbourne club’s lead after a foul from Hwang Hyun-soo on Callum McManaman.

FC Seoul cut the Victory’s lead in half in the 64th minute when Hwang headed home a Han Seung-gyu cross that goalkeeper Max Crocombe failed to reach after coming off his line.

But the Victory held on to claim the three points and knock FC Seoul out of second spot.

“For us, we knew it was going to be difficult so we’re very happy and very proud to be going through to the next round,” Rojas said.

“FC Seoul was very good, it was a tough challenge and we knew that it would be coming here.

“Because of our fantastic start, we had the two goal advantage and that let us hold on until the end.

“We had to fight really hard. That was a very difficult game.”

In the earlier game, Perth Glory finished their disappointing Group F campaign with a 1-0 loss to Japanese side FC Tokyo.

The Glory picked up just one point from six matches to finish bottom of their group.

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