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AFC Champions League

Muscat refuses to praise individuals as Victory impress against Guangzhou

04:19 GMT+3 24/04/2019
Jai Ingham Melbourne Victory
The boss was adamant a team effort was behind an improved performance

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat refused to praise any individuals as his weakened team collected a well-earned point in a 1-1 draw with powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande in the Asian Champions League.

The Chinese giants went ahead mid-way through the first half after Corey Brown's poor pass eventually resulted in Paulinho getting to the byline and pulling back for Huang Bowen's clinical finish.

But Victory struck back almost immediately as a poor clearance from the away side saw Jai Ingham have the time and space to finish expertly inside the near post.

Failing to win means Victory cannot progress out of the group, but Muscat was pleased with the overall performance of a side missing stars such as Keisuke Honda, Ola Toivonen, Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi.

Reporters tried to single out the efforts of man-of-the-match Terry Antonis and returning goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas but the Victory manager was all about the team effort.

"I know you want me to praise individuals but after that effort tonight - Lawrence was good but he had 10 brothers and Terry was good but he had 10 brothers," Muscat said.

"Elvis [Kamsoba], Jai [Ingham], Kenny [Athiu], Carl [Valeri], Tommy [Deng], James Donachie, Corey Brown - against a top quality player [Anderson Talisca] - Storm Roux. To praise one over the other would be pretty harsh. Did I leave anyone out? Josh Hope."

Victory were perhaps unlucky not to receive a penalty when Athiu was barged over in the area, but Muscat was content with the referee's call, saying it was a '50-50' decision.

It was a much-improved perhaps from when the Australian side travelled to Guangzhou earlier in the month, when they were belted 4-0 after an inspired brace from Talisca.

"We've got no excuses whatsoever [for the first Guangzhou match]. We didn't turn up on that night. We didn't bring the level of commitment that's required to compete and you get what you deserve," Muscat said.

"[Tonight] was a totally different performance - night and day. I'm really pleased for the players who were out there. They worked really hard. 

"Understanding the quality of the opponent, we changed things a little bit. We created enough chances to get the goal and had some more opportunities as well."