Brisbane Roar 3-3 Suwon Bluewings
(Borello 12′, Clut 22′ 80′ / Seo Jung-jin 39′ 50′, Jong Tae-se 71′)
A stunning strike from rising star Devante Clut rescued a point for Brisbane after it looked as though they would throw away an early 2-0 lead against Korea’s Suwon Bluewings.
Brandon Borello continued his stunning run of form with the opener inside the first fifteen minutes, before the star of the night, Devante Clut, doubled their lead with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box. A turnover in midfield allowed Suwon to break quickly with numbers and Seo Jung-jin was found in the box, cutting in on the defender to pull one back before half time, giving the Koreans belief as they headed into the break.
A second from Seo early in the second half drew Suwon level, before North Korean star Jong Tae-se put the Bluewings ahead with arguably the best goal of the evening.
But just when it looked like Brisbane had let the chance slip, up stepped Clut to smash home a thunderbolt from outside the box, giving No Dong-geon no chance to prevent an eventual draw.
Gamba Osaka 1-1 Buriram United
(39′ Abe / 63′ Theerathon)
Reigning J-League champions Gamba earned their first point of the campaign with a disappointing draw against the Thai visitors.
A revamped lineup saw Takashi Usami return to the starting 11, and the young striker caused plenty of headaches for Buriram defenders, with his 10th-minute cross in the box nearly converted into a goal by Hiroyuki Abe.
Abe finally found the net with six minutes remaining in half after he stuffed in Usami’s rebound to put the Japanese side into the lead.
His effort was for naught, however, as Theerathon Bunmathan equalized for the visitors with a stunning free kick in the 63rd minute to draw his side even.
The result left Gamba at the bottom of Group F with a single point while Buriram remain in the lead with seven.
FC Seoul 0-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney once again held FC Seoul to a goalless draw in the Korean capital after achieving the same result in last year’s semi final first leg.
Labinot Haliti came closest for either side midway through the second half when he got on the end of some nice work from Romeo Castelen, but his left footed effort smashed off the crossbar, while his follow up volley skewed off the side of his boot.
FC Seoul’s troubles in front of goal continued, having now scored just one goal in three matches. Cha Du-ri proved to be their most attacking weapon, bombing on down the right hand side to create numerous half chances, none of which could be finished by the FC Seoul attackers.
Kerem Bulut perhaps should have finished it when presented with a one-on-one opportunity with FC Seoul’s second choice keeper Yoo Sang-hoon, but the 25-year-old did well to block the controversial strikers effort.
Pakhtakor 0-1 Al Ain (UAE)
Al Ain managed to keep a one-goal lead despite going down to ten men to become group leaders, jumping over opponents Pakhtakor.
The Emiratis, who were missing stars Asamoah Gyan and Omar Abdulrahman, needed Miroslav Stoch to put them ahead just after the hour mark, with the Slovak midfielder sending a low strike driven from 20 metres out into the bottom corner of the net.
The Fenerbache loanee then got his marching orders with a straight red card after an argument with the fourth official, but Pakhatkor weren’t able to find the back of the net and finished the match with their first loss of the tournament.
Guangzhou Evergrande 4-3 Kashima Antlers
(10′ 62′ Ricardo Goulart, 58′ Elkeson, 90+2′ Zhao Xuri / 36′ Takasaki, 52′ Doi, 90+3′ Shibasaki)
A seesawing match saw seven goals as Guangzhou Evergrande narrowly edged Kashima Antlers to continue their winning streak, while the Japanese side are still looking for their first point.
Guangzhou Evergrande started the game by testing the linesman’s wits on several occasions, with the offside flag being raised each time. The breakthrough came within the first ten minutes, however, as Ricardo Goulart got his head onto the end of a Huang Bowen free kick to catch Hitoshi Sogahata wrong-footed.
Hiroyuki Takasaki equalised when Li Shuai spilled Shoma Doi’s cross, the ball unexpectedly hitting Takasaki’s thigh to go into the net.
Antlers found the lead shortly into the second half, when Li palmed Yasushi Endo’s long-range shot into the path of Doi, who made no mistake with his header.
The lead didn’t last long, with Elkeson getting himself on the scoresheet six minutes later in similar fashion to Ricardo Goulart, heading another free kick beyond Sogahata.
Ricardo Goulart then put Evergrande back in front with an amazing solo effort, running with the ball from 40 metres out and shooting from the edge of the box.
Zhao Xuri looked to end any doubt with a goal in additional time, receiving a perfectly timed through ball from Gao Lin to squeeze the ball under Sogahata. Gaku Shibasaki managed to pull anoher goal back within a minute with a strong header from Masashi Motoyama’s cross, but it was too late for the struggling J-League side to find their first points of the tournament.
Naft Tehran 2-1 Al-Shabab
(86′ Motahhari, 90′ Padovani / 43′(pen) Hazazi)
Naft Tehran fought back with two late goals to record their first win of the season, seeing off the win-less Al-Shabab.
Al-Shabab were the first to score, with a penalty near the end of half time that was coolly converted by Naif Hazizi, sending Iranian national team goalkeeper Ali Reza Beiranvand the wrong way.
The Iranians equalised with minutes left in the second half, when Leandro Padovani crossed the ball at the edge of the box to Arsalan Motahhari, who chested and volleyed into the top corner with impressive style.
Some fast reflexes from Brazilian defender Padovani saw him head in Gholam Reza Rezaei’s misdirected shot with moments left in regulation time to see the Saudi Arabic club still seeking a win.
Al Ahli (UAE) 0-0 Nasaf
Al Ahli are still looking for their first win of the campaign after being held to a 0-0 draw by Uzbekistan’s Nasaf.
Neither side really threatened throughout the match and Nasaf were dealt a blow when key man Artur Gevorkyan had to be substituted in the first half. Former Liverpool attacker Ousama Assaidi forced a smart save from Eldorbek Suyunov early in the first half, but the best chance of the match fell to Ismaeel Al-Hammadi after 27 minutes when he out-jumped Erkin Baydullaev at the near post, but once again Suyunov’s reflex save denied the Emirati side.
After losing Gevorkyan, Nasaf were content to sit back and play on the counter, which invited Al Ahli to attack, but the home side couldn’t take advantage of their dominance and both sides settled for a point, a result that does more for Nasaf than Al Ahli.
Al-Ahli (KSA) 2-0 Tractor Sazi
(72′ 80′ Al Jasssim)
A Taisir Al Jasssim brace within the space of eight minutes gave Saudi giants Al-Ahli three points over Iranian side Tractorsazi Tabriz.
In what was appeared to be going into a stalemate with little talking points throughout, scoring his first from Omar Al Soma’s pass at the byline before a second goal aided by the pass of Mustafa Al Bassas.
Tractor Sazi goalkeeper Hamed Lak looked relatively helpless as both shots evaded his attempts, allowing the Saudis to go three points clear at the top of their group.
(Recaps written by Ryan Steele, Paul Williams, and Dan Orlowitz)