Kashima dent Jeonbuk's hopes
Kashima Antlers won the clash of East Asia's titans on Tuesday with a dramatic 2-1 AFC Champions League win over Jeonbuk Motors, while Beijing Guoan dug deep to beat Kawasaki Frontale.
J.League champions Kashima came from behind to beat their K-League counterparts, with Koji Nakata and Yasushi Endo doing the damage.
Jeonbuk, who won the AFC crown in 2006, opened the scoring four minutes before half-time through their Brazilian star Eninho, who made the most of his chances after being put through by Lee Dong-Gook. Nakata struck the equaliser in the 70th minute after latching on to a cross from Brazilian midfielder Fellype Gabriel and it looked destined for a draw before Endo prodded home a last-minute winner for Kashima.
In the other Group F game, Changchun Yatai, runners-up in last year's Chinese Super League, crushed Indonesian minnows Persipura 9-0 in a lopsided contest. Costa Rican Johnny Woodly Lambert and Gao Jian both scored hat-tricks at the Jingkai Stadium, while Liu Weidong bagged a brace and Wang Bo added a late goal to inflict an embarrassing defeat on the hapless Indonesians.
It was an easy three points for Changchun as they bounced back emphatically from last week's 1-0 loss to Kashima. Chinese teams enjoyed a good night, with Super League champions Beijing Guoan travelling to Japan and beating Kawasaki Frontale 3-1.
Australian striker Joel Griffiths opened the scoring for Beijing eight minutes before the break, only to see Kosuke Kikuchi level the match three minutes later. But two second-half goals from Wang Changqing put the game beyond doubt to leave Kawasaki struggling without a point from their opening two games.
Melbourne Victory have also yet to claim a point following a 2-0 home loss to Seongnam Ilhwa, who became the first Korea Republic club to win an AFC Champions League game in Australia. Seongnam, seven-time K-League champions, remain unbeaten in Group E, thanks to well-taken goals from Australian Sasa Ognenovski and fellow central defender Yun Young-Sun.
Melbourne-born Ognenovski haunted his home-town club when he scored five minutes before half-time, rifling home from inside the six-yard box after a goalmouth scramble. Yun ensured Seongnam's breakthrough victory with a bullet header past goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak off a Mauricio Molina corner five minutes from time.
Bunyodkor look ominous
Elsewhere, Uzbek giants Bunyodkor continued their 100 per cent record in Group B with Brazilian striker Denilson grabbing two to propel Luis Felipe Scolari's side to a 2-1 victory over Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates. Saeed Al Kathiri grabbed a late consolation goal for the hosts with a minute remaining, but it was not enough to save his side from a second consecutive defeat.
In Tehran, reigning Iranian champions Esteghlal played out a goalless draw with Al Jazira of the UAE. Both sides failed to take their chances with Al Jazira's Khalid Sebil hitting a long-range effort against the bar three minutes before the break and Esteghlal's Fabio Januario also striking the woodwork from inside the box in first-half stoppage-time.
In Group A's other game, Qatar's Al Gharafa left it late to overcome Saudi team Al Ahli 3-2 in Doha thanks to goals from Sadd Al Shammari and Brazilian striker Araujo in the last ten minutes. The hosts took the lead through Mohammed Al Zaini after just two minutes, but Al Ahli came pulled it back to 2-1 until Al Shammari's and Araujo's heroics sealed the win in the game's dying moments.
Meanwhile, last year's beaten finalists Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia blew a two-goal lead at home to Iran's Zob Ahan at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium. Enzo Trossero's side went into the half-time break two goals up after Abdul-Malik Ziaya scored on 12 minutes before Mohammed Noor added a second on 41 minutes. But Fahadi Esmaeil grabbed one back for Zob Ahan five minutes after the break, with Mohammed Ghazi adding the equaliser just two minutes later.