Melbourne Victory suffered its first AFC Champions League home defeat in eight years, going down 3-1 to Daegu on Tuesday.
Ola Toivonen gave Victory the lead at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, but his opener was cancelled out by Cesinha in the Group F clash.
Hwang Soon-min and Edgar struck in the second half, ending Victory’s 13-match unbeaten home run, dating back to March 2011, in the competition.
Victory threatened early through Raul Baena, who curled a 20-yard effort narrowly over after a Kosta Barbarouses cutback from the right in the fourth minute.
It was all Victory early and it went close again in the 12th minute, Barbarouses heading a cross from Toivonen onto the crossbar.
The host scored a deserved opener just before the half-hour mark thanks to Toivonen’s 11th goal of the season.
Keisuke Honda, on his AFC Champions League debut, played a pass to Barbarouses, whose cross from the right was met by Toivonen and placed into the bottom corner.
However, Daegu responded almost immediately through Cesinha.
Edgar headed down a cross for his fellow Brazilian, who stunningly volleyed into the top corner from 20 yards.
The entertaining half continued as Victory almost restored its lead four minutes before half-time.
Leigh Broxham’s wonderful pass picked out Toivonen, whose first-time lay off found Honda, but the Japanese star’s effort was stopped by Daegu goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo.
Instead, Daegu took the lead early in the second half, Hwang’s 20-yard strike taking a deflection and looping over Lawrence Thomas.
Thomas was then forced into a save by Cesinha before Kim Dae-won was unable to capitalise on a great chance in the 56th minute.
Just as Victory pushed again, Daegu extended its lead, Edgar scrambling in a Cesinha cross from the right shortly after the hour-mark.
A reflex save from Cho denied Toivonen moments later before the goalkeeper held onto a Honda header in the 70th minute.
Despite its push, Victory was unable to find a way back into the encounter as the visitor held firm.
Player in focus
What they said – Broxham
on the game…
“We knew what they were going to come and do and they executed it well. We still couldn’t deal with it. They’ve got some quality up front and they scored some good goals. They didn’t have too many shots, but they took their opportunities. We had a lot of opportunities and we had a lot possession and chances ourselves, the keeper made a couple of great saves, and those big moments were the difference.”
on Daegu’s equaliser…
“It wasn’t out of much. Cesinha scored a great goal, we could look at it as much as we want, it was a bit of quality and that’s what you get in this competition. It wasn’t ideal for us, but we picked ourselves up, we had a few more opportunities in the first half and they took theirs in the second half.”
AFC Champions League 2019 Match Day 1
Melbourne Victory 1 (Ola Toivonen 29′)
Daegu 3 (Cesinha 31′, Hwang Soon-min 51′, Edgar 61′)
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux, Deng (Brown 65′), Donachie, Broxham (c); Baena; Honda, Troisi, Antonis; Barbarouses, Toivonen (Athiu 77′).
Daegu: Cho (gk); Kim Jun-yub, Park, Hong, Kim Woo-suk, Hwang (Jang 79′); Jeong, Ryu (Nishi 45′), Kim Dae-won (Dario 88′), Edgar, Cesinha (c).
Yellow cards: Baena 82′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Victory has the weekend off in the Hyundai A-League as it prepares for a trip to Japan to face Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday, March 12.