Maher’s goal earns Victory a draw with Jiangsu at AFC Women’s Club Championship

A youthful Melbourne Victory have played out a 1-1 draw with Chinese champions Jiangsu Suning LFC in their second match at the AFC Women’s Club Championship on Thursday night.

After a 4-0 defeat against Korean powerhouse Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels on Tuesday, Jeff Hopkins’ side responded in excellent fashion.

Image courtesy of Melbourne Victory 

Alana Jancevski and Paige Zois, both 16, made their Victory debuts, while Polly Doran (18), Grace Maher, Melina Ayres (20) and Emma Robers (21) all started.

And the Westfield W-League Premiers made a dream start at the Yongin Citizen Athletic Park Stadium, taking the lead inside 10 minutes through Maher.

It was a corner from Melina Ayres that picked out Maher at the near post, with her glancing header too good for the keeper.

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But Victory’s lead lasted just two minutes as Tang Jiali scored with an excellent low shot from just outside the box.

The goal seemed to give Jiangsu a lift and they created the better of the chances for the remainder of the contest.

Watch a replay of Victory’s clash with Jiangsu Suning LFC below

But every time it appeared the Chinese side were about to score, Victory keeper Melissa Maizels had the answers, playing a superb match between the sticks.

Victory almost won it late on as Maher’s free-kick from 30 yards out was parried by Peng Shimeng, who then smothered the follow-up at Jenna McCormick’s feet.

There’s still one game left for Victory at the tournament, taking on Japanese outfit Nippon TV Beleza on Saturday at 2pm AEDT).

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Tournament details

The first-ever AFC Women’s Club Championship will be held in South Korea in a round-robin format from November 26-30.

The tournament features the three champions from China (Jiangsu Suning), Japan (Nippon TV Beleza) and tournament hosts South Korea (Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels).

Although Sydney FC are reigning Westfield W-League Champions, Asian Football Confederation rules dictate that Premiership winners are the first criteria for qualification given there are no Finals Series matches in the other leagues. 

Remaining fixture

November 30
Melbourne Victory v Nippon TV Beleza (12pm KST, 2pm AEDT)
Jiangsu Suning v Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels (3.15pm KST, 5.15pm AEDT)

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