Keisuke Honda's goal wasn't enough for Victory. Pic: AAP
Keisuke Honda's goal wasn't enough for Victory. Pic: AAP

Victory plot grand rebound against Roar

STAR Melbourne striker Ola Toivonen admitted a stomach bug left him feeling flat in Victory's Asian Champions League loss to Sanfrecce Hiroshima, but was confident of recovering in time for Saturday's Brisbane Roar clash.

Meanwhile Keisuke Honda was "sorry" he could not lead Victory to a famous result in Japan, after his equaliser was cancelled out by Daiki Watari's late winner.

Toivonen was struck down with gastro 24 hours before Tuesday night's Champions League clash, and lasted just 63 minutes before heading straight down the tunnel and, presumably, to the toilet.

The Swede rejoined his teammates for their team breakfast in Hiroshima before they departed for Melbourne, ahead of Saturday's A-League clash at Marvel Stadium.

"Annoying. Like (I had) no energy, but we travelled to Japan, so I didn't just want to be in the hotel room," Toivonen said.

"I don't know what it was. The last couple of days (I felt it).

"(It's frustrating), but the season isn't finished yet, so as long as we win the grand final it's good.

"No worries, we're playing good football for the moment, but it's not getting the results with this. Daegu and (Sanfrecce) we played good football.

Ola Toivonen had a tough night against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Pic: AAP
Ola Toivonen had a tough night against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Pic: AAP

"At least a draw (we deserved). But yeah, that's football. They sit back and wait for our mistakes and we did one mistake in the first half and it cost us a goal."

Honda hysteria peaked on game day fans lining up hours before kick-off for a glimpse, with one lady in tears, while hundreds more queued for his autograph back at the team hotel, with some staying for hours in the hope he would return.

"I'm sorry for the result, but I did what I could," Honda said.

"The match in Japan was enjoyable. There is still a chance to play Sanfrecce in May (at AAMI Park), so I want to prepare and focus on getting three points."

Keisuke Honda maintains his focus. Picture: AAP
Keisuke Honda maintains his focus. Picture: AAP

Honda's late run into the box was rewarded with Storm Roux's clever run and cutback, with the ex AC Milan ace expertly sliding in to finish past keeper Hirotsugu Nakabayashi, just moments after Toivonen came off which forced a positional reshuffle.

"I didn't touch the ball once for about five minutes (before the goal). We broke and I ran (forward) believing the pass would come," Honda said.

There were no scenes of jubilation, as Honda picked up the ball from the net and headed back to the centre to signal Victory's intent, only to suffer late heartbreak.

News Corp Australia


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