Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat was full of praise for his side's Champions League win over Kawasaki Frontale on Tuesday night, saying they played "unbelievably well" against the J-League champions.
Muscat had pledged Victory fans could look forward to a night to remember, with both clubs needing to win to give themselves a real chance of going through to the knockout stage.
In the end, Victory delivered courtesy of Kosta Barbarouses' late winner, crowning a terrific performance by the hosts who refused to buckle under tremendous early pressure before exerting their own presence against what Muscat described as a ''very, very good team''.
The 1-0 win by Shanghai SIPG over Ulsan Hyundai in South Korea later on Tuesday night puts the Chinese team well clear at the top of the standings in the four-team group. They have 10 points, with Ulsan on five, the same as Victory, with Kawasaki one.
Ulsan are fractionally ahead of Victory on goal difference so their next match in Ulsan will go a long way to determining who progresses behind Shanghai.
It should be a cracking contest if the 3-3 draw at AAMI Park in the opening game of the tournament is anything to go by.
Muscat was, not surprisingly, delighted by Tuesday night's performance.
''I made our intentions clear. We collectively came up with how we wanted to approach the game, the playing group went out and did themselves (proud). It's a great night, it's worked out exactly how I tried to articulate,'' he said.
''Kosta gets the goal but I thought collectively we worked unbelievably well.
''They are a fantastic football team: Japanese champions, they play in a very technical footballing competition, for us to take four points off them over two games, we couldn't be happier. It's a massive scalp for the football club, a massive scalp for Australian football.''
Kawasaki began in brilliant fashion but Victory dug in, kept their shape, stayed focused and weathered the storm; eventually it was the J-League titleholders who were clinging on, trying to escape with a point - something they failed, in the end, to do.
''The amount of opportunities we had in the second half, we felt watching them in the J-League, they wouldn't have come under that sort of pressure in their competition.
''It looks like you are weathering the storm. That's what happens when you play good teams. I thought we were compact in the first half. In the second half they tried to lift the tempo by pressing us a bit higher ... that left us some space ... and when that does happen I will back us against anyone.''
Victory had a number of chances late in the game, including a big shout for a penalty for substitute Christian Theoharous, and Muscat said their failure to breakthrough had been a big psychological test for his players.
''There were some amazing performances from everyone ... I have got a group of players who believe in what we are trying to do ... (it was) persistent pressure. The last 20-25 minutes it was relentless. Credit to the group.''
Besart Berisha looked distinctly unhappy when he was substituted for Kenny Athiu, but Muscat played down his angry reaction.
''Nobody's happy when they come off. I am more interested in those who come on. Kenny did very well. The contribution from the boys (substitutes) that came on was exactly what was required.''