Here I’ve written short summaries of the goal-fest during tuesday and wednesday in the AFC Champions League, eastern division. I’ve also included links to more in-depth reports and highlights from the matches.
Muangthong United (THA) – Kashima Antlers (JPN) 2-1
Thai champions Muangthong United, perhaps best known in Europe from Robbie Fowler’s one year spell at the club in 2011, continues to skyrocket towards the top of Asian football. The club, founded only in 1989, won their first domestic league title in the debut season in the top flite (2009), their fourth last year and secured their first ever AFC Champions League-win agains last seasons second runners-up in the J-League, Kashima Antlers, who also managed to bring home the silver from the FIFA Club WC in december, having lost the final in overtime to Real Madrid.
Great drama took place at Supachalasai National Stadium, right behind MBK shopping mall in central Bangkok, when Yuma Suzuki sent the keeper the wrong way but put the spot-kick wide in the 84th minute of the game, only to see former Newcastle- and Deportive la Coruna-forward Xisco rolled the winner into an empty net just as the ref was about to blow the final whistle. With this, the spaniard sent his team right to the top of the group at four points (the first from a goalless dra at Brisbane Roar), one ahead of Antlers who beat Ulsan Hyanduai 2-0 at home in the first round.
Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) – Brisbane Roar (AUS) 6-0
The Korean hosts, who were given a spot in the tournament as league runners-up Jeonbuk Hyundai(!) Motors were disqualified for involvement in a matchfixing-scandal back in 2013, brushed their Australian guests aside easily. 3-0 after 34 minutes, a whopping 6-0 at the end with four different names on the scoresheet puts Ulsan at third place in the group, having lost their opener 2-0 to Kashima Antlers, and Brisbane at the bottom with one single point from 0-0 at home to Muangthong United.
Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN) – FC Seoul (KOR) 5-2
Reigning J-League champions, Urawa Red Diamonds, got their second straight big win in this years Champions League, after 4-0 away at Western Sydney Wanderers, as they scored five goals to FC Seoul’s two. The home-side were 2-0 up after only 11 minutes but former Arsenal striker, Park Chu-Young, breathed life into the match with a beauty of a free-kick in the 13th minute. This was, however, merely, artificial breathing and only lasted two minutes before the Reds were back to two ahead. Before the break the lead was already up two 5-1 and the guest’s second goal didn’t come until second half stoppage time. The result keeps the Reds at the top of the group, just ahead of Shanghai, who beat Seoul 1-0 away last week.
Shanghai SIPG (CHN) – Western Sydney Wanderers (AUS) 5-1
André Villas-Boas’ Shanghai SIPG followed 1-0 away at FC Seoul with an easy win at home to Western Sydney Wanderers. The Australians have started their campaign as a punching bag by losing 4-0 at home to Urawa Red Diamonds, and now 5-1 in China. Hulk, who scored the winning goal in Seoul, opened the scoring with a header after only two minutes and superstar number two, the worlds highest paid footballer, Oscar added to the lead fifteen minutes later. Wanderers got both their, and the A-League’s, first Champions League-goal of the season in but it was already 3-1 before Shanghai’s holy trinity of Brazilian goals was completed as Elkeson made it 4-1. With 15 minutes of the 90 till to go, the hosts put the final result of 5-1 on the board and they, toghether with Red Diamonds, now have a firm grip of the places in the knock-out stage. The Wanderers on the other hand, looks to be in a fight with Seoul to avoid finishing last.
Suwon Bluewings (KOR) – Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) 2-2
Korean cup winners Suwon Bluewings, went ahead twice at home to favourites Guangzhou Evergrande, the guest however leveled the score on both occasions. It was a completely Brazilian night on the scoresheet: 1-0 Santos, 1-1 Ricardo Goulart, 2-1 Johnathan and finally 2-2 Alan. 7-0 at home to Eastern SC in the first round lets Evergrande stay in pole position, just ahead of Bluewings who drew for the second censecutive match (1-1 against Kawasaki Frontale in Japan in round one).
Eastern Sports Club (HKG) – Kawasaki Frontale (JAP) 1-1
The Hong Kong-champions regained their honor, after losing 7-0 to Guangzhou Evergrande in China last week, by an impressive draw at home to Japanese guests Kawasaki Frontale. The tables were turned for the home side, compared to their first match, as they were now on the recieving end of an early penalty-decision. Going one ahead from the spot and seeing their opponents reduced to ten men after only 13 minutes put Eastern in a commanding position as they looked to get their first ever Champions League win. Frontale spoiled the party and managed to equalise to get their second 1-1 draw in as many games (the first being at home to Suwon Bluewings). The result leaves Eastern still trailing in the group, one point behind Frontale, as well as Bluewings.
Gamba Osaka (JAP) – Jeju United (KOR) 1-4
Jeju United travelled to Japan to repair the damage after losing 1-0 at home to Jiangsu Suning. The mission was carried out to perfection as the Koreans stunned their hosts, Gamba Osaka, with two goals in quick succesion just before the break. By the 72nd minute, the Japanes side, who won their first game comfortably away to Adeleide United (3-0), found themselves trailing 4-0 and were pushed to third place in the group, as Jeju jumped up to second, despite getting a late consolation goal from 11 metres.
Jiangsu Suning (CHN) – Adelaide United (AUS) 2-1
Former Shaktar Donetsk-attacker Alex Teixeira’s two goals sees Jiangsu Suning take the lead in the group with 6 points from the narrowest margin possible, as the result of a 1-0 win away at Jeju United in the first round and the evenings opponents, Adeleide United, managing to get their first goal of the tournament in stoppage time to make it 2-1. The Austrailians lost their opener 3-0 at home to Gamba Osaka and the results so far poses the question of wheather the A-League has fallen too far behind the top East Asian leagues. 2 goals for and 20 against the three Aussie clubs after two rounds paints a very dark picture. Meanwhile, no one seems to have a way of dealing with the Brazilian elements in the Chinese side, Teixeira’s brace means 7 out of 9 goals for the Chinese clubs in this round came from their South American stars.