Underdogs impress as giants stumble
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Underdogs stole the show in the opening matchday of the knockout stage, with Buriram United and Lekhwiya upsetting Bunyodkor and Al Hilal. Tournament debutants El Jaish, too, earned a hard-fought point against Al Ahli.

Kashiwa Reysol and Guangzhou Evergrande, meanwhile, maintained smooth campaigns with victories at Jeonbuk Motors and Central Coast Mariners. The same can be said of newly-crowned Iranian champions Esteghlal, who ran riot against Al Shabab Al Arabi to maintain hopes of a domestic and Asian double. Join FIFA.com as we review some epic clashes across the continent.

The match
Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Guangzhou Evergrande
Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande put a foot into the quarter-finals with a comeback victory at Central Coast Mariners. Graham Arnold’s hosts got off to a good start as an unmarked Mitchell Duke latched onto Bernie Ibini’s smart pass to open the scoring on seven minutes.

Taking heart from the opener, the Mariners continued to press forward, with the visitors largely on the back foot. Having weathered the early onslaught, though, the Chinese gradually exerted their authority. The equaliser came on 26 minutes, when a swift counter-attack was completed by Lucas Barrios.

Guangzhou got the better of the second half, with striking-ace Muriqui putting the C-League champions in front 14 minutes from time. The home side threw everything forward as they sought a leveller, but the rivals could have enhanced the lead had it not been for Mat Ryan's smart reflexes between the posts.

The surprise
Buriram United 2-1 Bunyodkor
Two-time semi-finalists Bunyodkor suffered their first defeat of the campaign, going down 2-1 at unfancied Buriram United. The Thai hosts, playing in only their second Champions League appearance, were undisputed underdogs heading into the encounter. But a pair of headers from Anawin Jujeen and Ekkachai Samre earned the Thai FA Cup winners a spirited win which maintained their amazing run.

It was, indeed, a result they truly deserved, considering their dominant play throughout. Capitalising on their pace and fluid play, Buriram were dynamic in attack at times during the first half, during which Jujeen opened the scoring for the hosts with a glancing header on 17 minutes. Substitute Igor Taran scored just before the break to pull Mirdjalal Kasimov's visitors level, but Samre popped up to head home the match-winner 14 minutes from time.

The other attractions
Kashiwa Reysol continued their rampaging form against Jeonbuk Motors, inflicting a third consecutive defeat on their K League hosts, having won both home and way last year. Masato Kudo headed the Japanese visitors ahead inside three minutes, before Tatsuya Masushima got his head on Wagner's corner to wrap up the triumph.

Despite playing the last half-hour with ten men, FC Seoul grabbed a precious away point after holding hosts Beijing Guoan to a goalless draw. In the process, the K League champions had to overcome the early loss of Sergio Escudero due to a pulled thigh and Choi Hyo Jin's dismissal on the hour-mark as they kept the home side at bay.

In west Asia, captain Anderson struck on 76 minutes as Qatari El Jaish battled from behind to draw 1-1 against last year's finalists Al Ahli. The visiting Saudi giants took the lead when Motaz Al Mosa headed home on the stroke of half-time. With the visitors on course to seal an opening win, however, Anderson came to the hosts' rescue by slotting past substitute goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf on 76 minutes.

El Jaish's compatriots Lekhwiya, meanwhile, registered a 1-0 victory at Al Hilal with Tunisian forward Youssef AL Msakni sealing the three points with a late strike. Another Qatar versus Saudi Arabia encounter, though, ended in favour of Saudi champions Al Shabab, who came from a goal down to edge hosts Al Gharafa 2-1.

Elsewhere, Esteghlal produced the matchday's biggest scoreline, overcoming a first-half 1-0 deficit to win 4-2 at Al Shabab Al Arabi. The hosts took the lead through Luiz Henrique, but goals in the second half from Jlloyd Samuel, Javad Nekounam and Farhad Majidi saw the visitors 3-1 up with ten minutes left. Edgar pulled one back for the home side, but Khosro Heidari sealed an Iranian triumph with a left-footed shot.

The player
Despite seeing an effort denied by the upright, Muriqui kept his cool to score the match-winner. This goal extended his tally to seven, level with tournament top-scorer Wagner Ribeiro of El Jaish.

The stat
1
- Only one of the eight home sides emerged victorious in the knockout stage's first matchday.

What they said
"We achieved a big victory against a strong team in an important match. However, the match was only a part of the encounter and there is still another match in Iran which will be decisive," Esteghlal coach Amir Ghalenoei

Round of 16 first leg results
14 & 15 May
Al Gharafa 1-2 Al Shabab
El Jaish 1-1 Al Ahli
Al Hilal 0-1 Lekhwiya
Al Shabab Al Arabi 2-4 Esteghlal
Beijing Guoan 0-0 FC Seoul
Buriram United 2-1 Bunyodkor
Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Guangzhou Evergrande
Jeonbuk Motors 0-2 Kashiwa Reysol