Kashima out for double figures

Japanese champions Kashima Antlers will be confident of stretching their goals tally to double figures in just two games as the AFC Champions League resumes on Wednesday.

Kashima hammered nine past Krung Thai Bank last week and face an undaunting return to Southeast Asia, where they play Vietnam's Nam Dinh.

Kashima's spree was the highlight of a sizzling opening for teams from Japan, China and Australia, with Gamba Osaka the only side not to win.

However, Antlers coach Oswaldo de Oliveira has tempered expectations of a second Japanese title following the Urawa Reds' victory last year.

"The games will get harder and we have to raise our standard. We also have J-League matches so we have to watch the players' condition," he said. "It is too early to say how we will do but we are happy to get the competition off to a good start."

Melbourne Victory travel to Thailand's Chonburi, while Adelaide United host China's Changchun Yatai.

"I know how hard it is to run in that humidity. Some of the guys could be in for a bit of a shock, but I am hoping that we can still win the game," said Victory striker Archie Thompson. "Another three points would be a huge boost for our Champions League campaign."

Meanwhile, Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar believes last week's 2-0 away win over the Pohang Steelers shows Australian teams are finding their feet in Asia after a disappointing debut last year.

"Australian football is gradually improving," Vidmar said last week. "This result can give Australian football momentum and help it find authority in Asia in the future."

Krung Thai Bank, Kashima's nine-goal victims who are only in the competition because Indonesian teams were banned, are unlikely to get any favours from Beijing Guoan. The Chinese Super League runners-up strolled to a 3-1 away win against Nam Dinh last time around.

The Chunnam Dragons will hope for a first South Korean win in this year's competition when they host J.League side Gamba, who were held by Chonburi last week.

In Group A, Syria's Al Ittihad will face their Saudi namesakes, who are bidding for a third title and the first by a Gulf team since 2005.

Uzbek side Kuruvuchi host Sepahan of Iran, last year's runners-up, after narrowly losing to Saudi's Al Ittihad in their tournament debut.

"It is our first appearance in this big competition, but we still have a chance to do something in our next games," said coach and Uzbek football legend Mirdjalol Kasimov.

Iraq's Al Quwa Al Jawiya, unable to play in their war-torn homeland, have a 'home' fixture against Kuwait SC - in Kuwait. Former Iran striker Ali Daei, who also coaches the national team, will hope for better things from his Saipa squad as they host UAE's Al Wasl following their away draw to Al Kuwait.

Kuwait's Al Qadsia welcome northern Iraqi outfit Arbil, while Qatari team Al Gharafa entertain Uzbek giants Pakhtakor. Separately, reigning champions Urawa, who join at the quarter-final stage, have sacked German coach Holger Osieck after losing their two opening J.League matches.

Asia's premier club competition has been running since 2002, with Jeonbuk Motors and Al Ain also among the former winners. Indonesian teams were kicked out of the current edition over the late completion of their league and cup competitions.