Soccer

Keisuke Honda scores in A-League debut

Kyodo

Melbourne Victory newcomer Keisuke Honda scored a memorable goal in his A-League debut, but his team fell 2-1 to local rival Melbourne City in their season-opening clash on Saturday.

The former Japan international donned the captain’s armband as he started the Melbourne Derby on the right side of midfield in front of 40,504 at Marvel Stadium.

The 32-year-old dead-ball specialist assumed corner kicking duties, as well as taking free kicks and a number of throw-ins for Victory.

He put his new side ahead on the stroke of 17 minutes, beating two defenders in the air to head in a cross from defender Storm Roux.

City drew level five minutes from the break when Belgian midfielder Ritchie De Laet scored after teammate Florin Berenguer hit the post on a contentiously awarded penalty kick.

Victory came within inches of taking a 2-1 lead midway through the second half when Honda threaded a ball to teammate Terry Antonis, who hit the post with his shot from inside the box.

But it was City that broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when 19-year-old substitute Riley McGree finished a counterattack with a strike from inside the Victory area.