Jeonbuk Motors have eliminated Melbourne Victory from the AFC Champions League (ACL), with Leonardo scoring a brace in a 2-1 win.
Leonardo scored either side of half-time on Tuesday to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory for Jeonbuk, although Besart Berisha’s late strike ensured a nervous finish for the K League champions.
The result ended Archie Thompson, Matthieu Delpierre and Kosta Barbarouses’ time in Victory colours.
Leonardo was dangerous throughout the second leg in South Korea and had enough chances to score a hat-trick.
The Brazilian winger converted a free-kick from a tight angle in the first half and was teed up by compatriot Ricardo Lopes with 19 minutes remaining to send the home side into the ACL quarter-finals.
Victory had their own opportunities, however, and the match could have ended much differently if Thompson had slotted an early header.
Jason Geria’s cross picked out the veteran striker at the back post but his header was straight at Jeonbuk goalkeeper Kwon Soon-tae before Thompson’s follow-up shot was blocked by Choi Chul-soon.
Thompson’s chance was against the grain though with Leonardo pulling the strings for the hosts.
Having fired a couple of warning shots, Leonardo put Jeonbuk ahead in the 29th minute, curling the ball over Lawrence Thomas and inside the far post from close to the byline.
Victory couldn’t have been surprised as Leonardo had secured a 1-1 draw last week in Melbourne with a stunning free-kick.
In another reminder of the first leg, Victory caused Jeonbuk problems from corners late in the first half with Nick Ansell shooting just wide five minutes before the break.
The visitors began to look tired in the second half and in the 71st minute substitute Lopes broke down the left to set up Leonardo’s second goal.
It was no more than the 29-year-old deserved after he had dominated the match.
Barbarouses hit the post soon after before Besart Berisha gave Victory some hope in the 84th minute with a sharp volley from Jai Ingham’s cross.
But there would be no late heroics for Victory as their continental campaign ended at Jeonju World Cup Stadium for the second time in three years.