Melbourne Victory end AFC Women’s Club Championship with loss to Nippon TV Beleza

Melbourne Victory concluded their 2019 AFC Women’s Club Championship campaign with a 5-0 loss to Japanese champions Nippon TV Beleza on Saturday afternoon (AEDT).

Jeff Hopkins’ side bounced back from a first-up defeat with a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Chinese giants Jiangsu Suning LFC on Thursday night, but fell to a bruising loss against Nippon TV Beleza, who went on to be crowned the first ever champions of the tournament.

Beleza’s Mina Tanaka scored the first of her three goals of the game early doors, heading in a perfectly weighted cross from close range to give her side the lead.

Victory ‘keeper Casey Dumont did her best to keep her side in the game, pulling off a fantastic reflex save with her right foot to keep Jun Edo from scoring Beleza’s second.

But there was nothing Dumont could do when Teigen Allen conceded a penalty for a challenge on Sara Ito in the box. Ito stepped up to convert the spot-kick and put Beleza two goals ahead.

The game resumed after the half-time break with Victory still in the contest but Tanaka put an end to any hope of a comeback by scoring her second of the game, taking a long ball down off her chest and finishing calmly past Dumont early in the second half.

Ten minutes later Tanaka’s hat-trick was complete, as she pounced on a cross into the box to volley home from close range.

Beleza continued to push until the end of the game and eventually scored their fifth goal through Kokona Iwasaki. She placed a curling effort from outside the box into the top left corner in the first minute of added time.

Victory finish the inaugural tournament in fourth place with one point from their three games.

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

Watch the replay of Nippon TV Beleza v Melbourne Victory in the player below.

Tournament details

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

The tournament featured 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. 

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