ACL Matchday 3 Day 1 Recap

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Beijing Guoan v Urawa Red Diamonds - AFC Asian Champions League

Jeonbuk Hyundai 3-0 Becamex Binh Duong
(16′ Eninho, 41′ 88′ Lee Dong-guk)

Lee Dong-guk returned from injury to play his first match of the year and made an immediate impact for his side, scoring a brace as Jeonbuk ran out 3-0 winners over Binh Duong.

After playing 30 minutes of K-League action against FC Seoul on the weekend, coach Choi Kang-hee was confident in the South Korean striker as a starter.

In what turned out to be a relatively comfortable match for the home team against the V-League champions, Eninho started the scoring with a deft touch from the long pass of Leonardo allowed the Brazilian K-League star to shoot over Nigerian-bon goalkeeper Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele.

Asian Cup winner Alex Wilkinson almost scored the second with a header from Leandro’s deflected shot, but Esele was ready at the near post. Nguyen Trong Hoang came close to equalising for the visitors with a driving shot from outside the box going narrowly wide, but Lee Dong-guk doubled the lead for Jeonbuk with a simple header from Eninho’s cross.

The captain scored his second of the night with a fast-reflex volley as Au Van Hoan failed to properly clear Lee Kyu-ro’s cross.

Guangzhou R&F 0-1 Seongnam FC
(26′ Hwang Ui-jo)

Seongnam secured their second win on the bounce with an impressive 1-0 win away against Guangzhou R&F.

Rising star Hwang Ui-jo put the Korean FA Cup champions ahead midway through the first half when he controlled Kim Dong-hee’s cross with a perfect first touch, before finishing exquisitely from the edge of the box. Michel came close to equalising for the home side late in the first half but saw his shot hit the crossbar.

Guangzhou pushed for an equaliser in the second half and Seongnam survived some hairy moments when Jiang Ning and Abderrazak Hamadallah both found space in the box, but both put their shots wide to the relief of those in black who moved into second spot in Group F behind Buriram United.

Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 Shandong Luneng
(23′ Taketomi, 90+2′ Wako / 51′ Montillo)

Reysol stayed tied atop the Group E table with Jeonbuk Motors after a dramatic win against the Chinese visitors. Kosuke Taketomi opened scoring in the 23rd minute via a Masato Kudo cross, but Shandong drew even minutes into the second half when Walter Montillo dispossessed Daisuke Suzuki and hammered the ball home.

In the end it was Naoki Wako who become the hero of the night as he found space between two defenders and brilliantly headed in the winning goal deep into stoppage time to give Reysol their second victory of the group stage.

Beijing Guoan 2-0 Urawa Reds
(78′ Batalla, 84′ Yu Dabao)

Beijing Guoan scored two late goals to remain undefeated as Urawa continue to search for their first win of the tournament.

With Ha Dae-sung and captain Xu Yulong returning from injuries to their side’s starting lineup, Guoan were confident in maintaining their winning streak and managed to do so despite some chances from the visitors.

Dejan Damjanovic and Yuki Muto forced saves at either ends of the pitch within the first 20 minutes, while Muto scraped the edge of the upright with a shot across goal just after the half hour mark. Xu Yulong forced Nishikawa to tip his long-range attempt over the bar moments later.

Damjanovic caused a constant threat against Urawa’s scrambling defence in the second half, but it was Batalla who finally broke down Urawa’s doors with 12 minutes remaining in the match, side-footing the ball over Shusaku Nishikawa after the Japan goalkeeper failed to properly punch the ball away from the penalty area.

Beijing secured their victory with a second goal six minutes later, with Yu Dabao given the time and space to open his body and slot the ball into the corner of the net.

Foolad 0-0 Al Hilal

Foolad’s struggles in front of goal continued as they drew blanks at home against last year’s runners-up Al Hilal.

Sasan Ansari came close early but hit his shot over the crossbar. Al Hilal should have taken the lead when Greek international Georgios Samaras teed up Khalid Al-Kabi, but he hit his shot straight at Alireza Salimi.

Al Hilal continued to threaten and create chances, but saw their chances go everywhere but in the net. Esmaeel Sharifat had a great chance on the stroke of half time to make Al Hilal pay for their profligacy but scuffed his shot.

Despite both sides having excellent chances to get a winner – Foolad had a shot cleared off the line and hit the woodwork in the second half – neither side could find the breakthrough and had to settle with a 0-0 draw.

Bunyodkor 0-1 Lekhwiya
(Nam Tae-hee (pen) 28′)

Looking for their first win of the campaign, Bunyodkor attacked from the outset and could have taken an early lead when a fabulous floated ball from Akmal Shorakhmedov found Vokhid Shodiev who headed straight at Amine Lecomte-Addani.

They were left to rue their early missed chances when a perfect through ball from Luiz Ceara played in Mohamed Razaq who had sprung the offside trap, only to be taken out by a desperate Akbar Turaev, with the referee instantly pointing to the spot.

Korean international Nam Tae-hee stepped up and sent Turaev the wrong way to give the Qatari side a surprise 1-0 lead. Bunyodkor peppered the goal for the remainder of the match and put pressure on a flaky Lecomte-Addani, but they failed to put the ball into the net and gave Lekhwiya their first win of the campaign.

Al-Sadd 6-2 Lokomotiv
(Ibrahim 27′ (PG) 50′, Al Haydos 34′, Belhadj 40′, Hassan 63′, Grafite 66′ / Kojasevic 56′, Khasanov 77′ (PG))

Al-Sadd maintained their undefeated run at the top of Group C and significantly extended their goal difference with a spectacular 6-2 rout over Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent.

Asian Cup star Khalfan Ibrahim scored twice, opening the scoring in the 27th minute with a penalty straight down the middle of the goalmouth before his second half header from Muriqui’s cross made the team’s fourth of the night.

Hasan Al Haydos scored the second of the match in the 34th minute on a counter attack with Muriqui as Al-Sadd decided to continue playing rather than pause for teammate Grafite, who looked to be in pain.

Nadir Belhadj put the home side three goals ahead with a shot into the far corner after a defensive error from Lokomotiv’s high line gave Al-Sadd another clinical counter attacking opportunity.

Lokomotiv pulled a goal back with Damir Kojasevic’s delightful free kick, but Abdelkarim Hassan responded with an even more impressive shot from just inside the half, looping into the back of the net.

Al-Sadd found their sixth minutes later, when high pressure forced a turnover and allowed Ali Asadalla a chance, hitting the upright with his shot before Grafite pounced on the rebound. Jasur Khasanov returned fire with a penalty in the 77th minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal as the Uzbeks remain without a win.

Al Nassr 3-0 Persepolis
(32′ Mierzejewski, 78′ Estoyanoff, 90’+5 Al Raheb)

Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr handed Persepolis their first loss of the group stage as they cruised to a 3-0 win.

Adrian Mierzejewski’s fantastic effort near the half-hour mark put his team ahead for good, and Persepolis wasted several chances to equalise before Fabian Estoyanoff and Hassan Al Raheb put the game away for good in the latter end of the second half.

The result sees Al Nassr rise to second place in Group A with five points behind Persepolis’ six.