After Besart Berisha’s headed opener, the A-League side were pegged back by their Korean opponents, conceding a free kick equaliser.
While Berisha ran Jeonbuk ragged all night and was unlucky not to add to his fifth minute goal, the Victory faithful came to celebrate another forward.
The 11,542-strong crowd chanted Archie Thompson’s name all night on his farewell appearance after 11 seasons at the club.
The tributes continued well after his substitution as the 37-year-old shed a tear on bench.
Thompson has one more appearance to come in navy blue – the away leg in Jeonju next week – and on his evidence Victory will have every reason to be positive of progression.
The first leg was a tense affair, beginning at a cracking pace and packed with chances.
Fine work from Leigh Broxham brought the opener.
The diminutive utility showed his athleticism, rising high at a half-cleared corner to dink the ball in front of Jeonbuk goalkeeper Kwon Sun-tae.
Berisha swooped in, heading home from close range.
Victory’s lead didn’t last long.
The lightest of touches from Matthieu Delpierre, who joined Thompson and Kosta Barbarouses in making farewell AAMI Park appearances, brought down impressive midfielder Han Kyo-won just outside the box.
Leonardo took the resulting free kick with such precision that Victory gloveman Lawrence Thomas moved only to pick the ball out of his net.
After Leonardo’s equaliser, the Koreans sat back and soaked up the pressure.
Victory monstered possession but were thwarted by Jeonbuk’s well-drilled defence.
To continue on into the last eight of the Asian Champions League, Kevin Muscat’s side will need a win or goal-laden draw next Tuesday night.
Muscat said he would take his side to Korea without any fears and with plenty of hope.
“The tie is still wide open,” he said.
“We’ve scored in every one of our away trips this competition.
“We can take confidence from the amount of chances we created tonight.”
Jeonbuk coach Choi Kang-hee said his side tired after the travel but did “pretty well”.
“We have one more home game … a home game is much advantage,” he said through a translator.
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