As the Asian competition got underway with goals and an outlandish ‘Panenka’ penalty, the Chinese double-holders began their campaign in ominous style as they dispatched the 2007 winners at home.
Lucas Barrios's 16th-minute helped get the hosts off to the best possible start and Muriqui weighed in with a second goal after half-time. With seconds remaining, Keita Suzuki put the ball into his own net to make it an emphatic start for Guangzhou.
The big-spenders, led by the FIFA World Cup™-winning coach, are aiming to become China's first Asian champions in 23 years.
Fellow Chinese team Jiangsu Sainty had a rude introduction to the competition when they were hammered 5-1 in their debut outing by K-League champions FC Seoul, who have their own claims on the Asian title.
Buriram United started positively when they came back from a goal down to draw Japan's Vegalta Sendai 1-1 away from home.
"We may have to feel content that we haven't lost our opening match," said Sendai coach Makoto Teguramori. "We tried to gain a little flexiblity in our tactics by changing our pace from the first to the second half."
At Nonthaburi's Thunderdome Stadium, fellow Thai team Muang Thong United also earned a welcome draw when they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, the 2006 winners and 2011 runners-up.
Muang Thong went 1-0 down to an early Lee Dong-Gook penalty but they equalised on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Mario Djurovski's sublime ‘Panenka’, chipped-down-the-middle spot-kick.
Belgian forward Kevin Oris looked to have stolen the points for the visitors on 77 minutes but Muang Thong's South Korean import Kim Yoo-Jin had the last word when his header found the net via a Jeonbuk defender with just two minutes to go.
Two west Asian groups also got underway later on Tuesday.
In Group A, Spanish coach Luis Milla took charge of Al Jazira for the first time, just days after he replaced Brazilian Paulo Bonamigo, but his new UAE side fell 3-1 at Iran's Tractor Sazi Tabriz. Saudi hosts Al Shabab beat Qatari visitors El Jaish 2-0.
In Group B, Qatari champions Lekhwiya came away 2-1 victors over play-off winners Al Shabab Al Arabi of the UAE. And in Tashkent, Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor, the only side to qualify for all 11 editions, saw off Saudi side Al Ettifaq 1-0.
The remaining games are on Wednesday.