Following the A-League split round, a fully rested Victory took it to the reigning J-League champions and looked the most likely to break the deadlock in the dying stages.

And in the 90th minute Kosta Barbarouses did just that. James Troisi dinked the ball into the box, Terry Antonis chested it down into the path of the Kiwi international, who fired it in at the near post for the 1-0 win.

Last week Leroy George's last-gasp penalty rescued a 2-2 draw in Japan against the Antlers and again the A-League side had something special for late on.

Match-winner Barbarouses told Fox Sports: "I think they came out strong, I'd say probably the first 20 minutes and then we grew into the game in the last 25 of that (half).

"To be fair, I thought we had control of the second half and the persistence of this team, we're always going to get chances. Last week and tonight, we never give up and it paid off both games."


Coming off a strong 2-0 win over Gamba Osaka on the weekend, Kawasaki displayed some sublime build up play in the Group F encounter.

But in Victory's Lawrence Thomas they found a goalkeeper at the top of his game, who blunted a series of razor sharp attacks.

Kosta added: "It's like most games, teams come out firing and they're no different. They're more of a short-passing sort of team. We just had to get under control and calm down a bit, 

"I think we were leaving the midfield a little bit too open at times in the first 20 and when we stopped giving them so much space, they're only human too, they coughed up the ball and we worked harder, I think we stepped up a gear and I felt we were pretty comfortable in the second half."

Kawasaki had the ball in the back of the net on 81 minutes but it was scrubbed out for offside.

Coach Kevin Muscat made the big calls, subbing stars Besart Berisha (70') and Leroy George (79') for Kenny Athiu and .Christian Theoharous. Berisha wasn't pleased but it was Victory with the legs and intent late in the match.

Kosta praised the youngsters who came on.

"It's very tough, as a young boy or if you're playing very sparingly, and it's testament to them to come on and be able to make an impact - it's a tough gig," said Barbarouses.

"I always tell young Chrissy (Theoharous) especially, because he's in my position, just to be ready to come on and make sure he's sweating almost to get on the pitch and I think he's done very well the past couple of games."