ACL Matchday 2 Day 1 Recap

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Bunyodkor 0-1 Persepolis
(Noori 20′)

Mohammad Noori’s penalty kick was more than enough to see Persepolis remain at the top of the Group A table with their second victory of the tournament.

Hosts Bunyodkor seemed to control the game early on, but a foul on Mehdi Taremi in the 20th minute allowed the Iranians to take the lead through Noori’s goal from the spot. A chance just 10 minutes later for the Uzbeks was wasted after Eldor Shomurodov’s shot from Dostonbek Khamdamov’s service went wide.

The Tashkent outfit came out of half time recomposed and pressured the visitors for most of the next 45 minutes, but the Reds held on for an important three points on the road.

Lekhwiya 1-1 Al Nassr
(Weiss 51′ / Musa 47′ OG)

Qatari champions Lekhwiya salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw against Al-Nassr featuring impressive performances by both goalkeepers. A scoreless first half was not without its share of action, with Nam Tae-hee hitting the crossbar within the first ten minutes with an attempt from an angle that evaded Abdullah Al-Enezi’s reach.

Multiple attempts by the visitors were swiftly parried away by Lecomte Amine, including an audacious attempt by Polish midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski from some distance, before a scuffle broke out between the two sides after a miscued challenge saw Karim Boudaif’s studs connect with Ibrahim Ghaleb’s ankle.

Al-Nassr broke the deadlock early in the second half, when Mohammad Al-Sahlawi’s cross narrowly missed its intended target of Armando Wila to instead come off the boot of Mohammad Mousa for an own goal.

Vladimir Weiss equalised for Michael Laudrup’s side four minutes later, receiving the ball inside the box from Youssef Msakni’s pass and shifting to slide it past Al-Enezi with ease.

Both sides could have scored penalties, but Weiss and Al-Sahlawi’s attempts in the 64th and 82nd minutes to convert were easily stopped by both goalkeepers.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi earned his second yellow card to send Al-Nassr to ten men, but there was not enough time remaining in the game to stop Lekhwiya from taking advantage as both teams shared the points.

Naft Tehran 1-1 Al Ain
(Kooroshi 50’ / Gyan (pen) 58’)

Naft Tehran, in their first ever AFC Champions League campaign, collected their first ever ACL point after earning a 1-1 draw with UAE side Al Ain.

It was the Iranian side who scored first when lax marking by Al Ain from Vahid Amiri’s long throw-in saw Siamak Kooroshi head home unmarked.

Al Ain were given the perfect chance to equalise less than ten minutes later when Medhi Shiri was adjudged to have handballed in the box, with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Asamoah Gyan stepped up and made no mistake as he sent Alireza Beiranvand the wrong way, levelling the scores at 1-1 which is how the match would finish, meaning both sides are still without a win after two games.

Al-Shabab 2-2 Pakhtakor
(Al Khaibary 35′, Hazazi 84′ / Sergeev 63′, Makharadze 72′ PK)

Pakhtakor kept their spot at the top of Group B with a 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia’s Al-Shabab after coming from a goal down at half time.

John Antwi’s shot was easily saved by Alexander Lobanov as it rolled to defender Aleksandr Merziyakov, but his hesitation to clear the ball at the 35 minute mark gave Abdulrahman Al-Khaibary a chance to slide in and send the ball flying into the net for Al-Shabab’s opener.

First match day star, Igor Sergeev, equalised for the visitors after the hour mark, pouncing on his own rebound after his original shot ricocheted off the crossbar.

Kakhi Makharadze sent the Uzbekis flying after Hassan Muath was penalised for his attempted challenge on Sergeev, giving Makharadze the chance to convert from the spot, which he did with a convincing strike into the roof of the net.

But it wasn’t to be all joy for the visitors, with Naif Hazazi getting on the end of a cross at close range to give the Saudis an unbeaten start to the tournament.

Kashiwa Reysol 5-1 Becamex Binh Duong
(Kudo 43′ 67′, Vrankovic 45′ OG, Kim 56′, Otani 75′ / Oseni 81′)

Le Cong Vinh made a return to football in Japan as his Vietnamese side Binh Duong left with an ill-fated 5-1 loss to Kashiwa Reysol at Hitachi Stadium.

After 40 minutes of scoreless action, Masato Kudo scored the first of a brace in the 43rd minute, finding space between two defenders in a scrambling defensive line to score from the middle of the penalty area.

Australian youth international David Vrankovic made matters worse for the away side with an own goal moments later, sending the ball into the net with a miscued header.

Defender Kim Chang-soo got himself on the scoresheet 11 minutes into the second half, making a run beyond the packed defence to receive Akimi Barada’s through ball and swiftly sliding it past Vietnamese-Nigerian goalkeeper Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele.
Kudo scored his brace with a 67th minute goal, while Otani gave Kashiwa their fifth goal of the night when man-of-the-moment Kudo headed a corner kick into the path of the midfielder, who dove to head the ball in at the far post.
Binh Duong salvaged a consolation goal out of the rout in the 81st minute through Nigerian striker Ganiyu Oseni, but Kashiwa kept possession for the remainder of the game to avoid giving the V-League champions any breathing space.
Shandong Luneng 1-4 Jeonbuk Hyundai
(Y. Xu 61’ / Edu 21’, Han KW 71’, Lee JS 75’, Leonardo 90’+3)

After a disappointing 0-0 draw at home last week, Jeonbuk bounced back to form with an emphatic 4-1 thumping of Shandong Luneng in Jinan.

Brazilian Edu opened the scoring after 21 minutes with a delightful chip from the edge of the box. Chinese international Yang Xu equalised on the hour mark, but two goals in five minutes not long after from Han Kyo-won and Lee Jae-sung, the latter a thunderous volley from the edge of the box, made it comfortable for Jeonbuk.

Poor defending from Shandong in injury time saw Leonardo found free in the box with the time to take a touch and smash home a fourth to put a final nail in the Shandong coffin.

Seongnam 2-0 Gamba Osaka
(Bueno 8′ PK, Hwang 68′)

Just four days after winning the Fuji Xerox Super Cup, reigning J-League champions Gamba Osaka continued their continental slide with a second straight 2-0 ACL defeat, this time to Seongnam FC.

An early piece of poor defending by Shohei Ogura gifted a penalty kick to Seongnam, and Ricardo Bueno’s aim was true to give the hosts the lead after just eight minutes. Gamba found few chances for the taking and went into the half time locker room trailing 1-0.

Seongnam captain Kim Do-heon forced a tremendous save by Gamba goalkeeper Higashiguchi in the 52nd minute, and the South Korean side did manage to double their lead through Hwang Ui-jo’s clever shot in the penalty area.

Gamba manager Kenta Hasegawa sent on prolific striker Takashi Usami soon after but it was too little, too late for the Japanese team.

Guangzhou R&F 1-2 Buriram United
(L. Lin 27’ / Ko SK 43’, Gilberto 90’)

Buriram United continued their perfect start to their AFC Champions League campaign with a come-from-behind win against Guangzhou R&F.

It was the Chinese side who opened the scoring when a long ball over the top caught out the Buriram defence. Lu Lin’s attempted first touch was heavy, but wrong-footed Siwarak in goal and dribbled into the back of the net.

Buriram equalised just before half time when Korean Ko Seul-ki headed home a corner at the near post to send the teams into half time locked at 1-1.

Just as it looked as though the teams would share the points, Brazilian Gilbert Macena, on loan from Chinese side Hangzhou Greentown, delivered one of the goals of the tournament with a spectacular scissor kick to seal a famous win for the Thai champions.

(Recaps written by Paul Williams, Ryan Steele, and Dan Orlowitz)

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