Holders excite as duo rebound
Gamba Osaka maintained their fine start to the defence of their AFC Champions League title by beating FC Seoul 4-2 today, while Shandong Luneng got their campaign back on track in emphatic fashion. Elsewhere, Newcastle Jets handed Australia its first win of the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Ulsan Hyundai, and the match between Nagoya Grampus and Beijing Guoan ended goalless.
Gamba have been impressive recently, following up on their 3-0 win over Shandong in the continental finals last week by moving to the top of the Japanese J.League over the weekend. Brazilian forward Montera Leandro was their dangerman in Korea Republic, scoring a second-half hat-trick after Masato Yamazaki put them in front on 13 minutes.
Jung Jo-Gook levelled the score eight minutes into the second half, before Leandro's contribution left Seoul out for the count. The result moved Gamba on to six points from two games in Group F, and firmly on track for the knockout rounds.
Shandong, China PR's reigning champions, clearly learned their lesson from being beaten by Gamba last week. They won 5-0 at home to Sriwijaya, who were forced to play with third-choice goalkeeper Dede Sulaiman after Ferry Rotishinu and his backup Afriyanto were ruled out injured.
Two goals apiece from Li Jinyu and substitute Miljan Mrdakovic, and a Han Peng strike, ensured the win. The hosts issued a warning as early as the second minute, when Dede punched away a dangerous cross from Li Wei before defender Alejandro Cichero headed over from the resulting corner.
The inevitable opening goal arrived when Li Jinyu struck in the 16th minute, and it was no surprise when Han added a second four minutes later. When Li made it 3-0 after 26 minutes there was no way back for the Indonesian minnows.
Petrovski shines on home debut
Champions League newcomers Newcastle Jets also rebounded well from their loss to Beijing Guoan last week, with Sasho Petrovski scoring a brace in his home debut to earn them a crucial 2-0 victory over Ulsan. The forward, who joined the Jets on a two-year contract last month, had long been public enemy number one with Newcastle fans after three seasons with rivals Sydney FC, but he quickly had the home crowd singing his name.
The veteran netted his first on 15 minutes after defender Ljubo Milicevic lobbed a clever ball into the box, which Petrovski caught superbly on the half-volley. It marked the first goal by an Australian team in the Champions League in five matches, breaking a scoring drought of 466 minutes. Petrovski made it 2-0 just before the break, meeting a Fabio Vignaroli cross to head past Ulsan goalkeeper Kim Seung-Gyu.
In the west Asian side of the draw, Iran's Saba Battery were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Dubai side Al Ahly, while Pakhtakor host Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal in the Uzbek capital Tashkent later today.
In Group B, Saudi Arabia's Shabab take on Iranian champions Piroozi, and Sharjah play Qatar's Al Gharafa. The remaining eight matchday 2 fixtures will be played on Wednesday.