Muang Thong triumph, South China stumble
Muang Thong United successfully put behind them the disappointment of missing out on a place in the AFC Champions League by getting their AFC Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 4-0 win over Hanoi T&T at Thunderdome Stadium on Wednesday.
The Thais suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat to Indonesians Sriwijaya last month to miss out on the chance of a place at Asia's premier club competition. But they bounced back in style as Teerasil Dangda scored twice while Christian Kouakou and Anon Sangsanoi also scored to send Muang Thong to the top of Group G.
"I expect us to win every game. We are Muang Thong United and we always try to win," said Muang Thong caretaker coach Robert Procureur. "I'm very proud of my players, as they played very well and not just because the other team was weak. We had good teamwork."
Muang Thong are joined on three points by Tampines Rovers after the Singaporeans won 3-1 at Victory SC of the Maldives. Benoit Croissant, Aleksander Duric and Mohamed Ali were all on target for the visitors while Hussain Simaz claimed a late consolation goal for Victory.
In Group H, a topsy-turvy encounter between East Bengal and Chonburi at Salt Lake Stadium ended in a 4-4 draw. The Indian hosts had stormed ahead with two goals in the first 20 minutes but Chonburi responded by scoring four goals to move into a 4-2 lead.
However, East Bengal showed good spirit to battle back and take a point. "This was a match we could have so easily lost," East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan said. "The point is satisfactory for us. If not for a late comeback, we would have been left with nothing."
In the other Group H game, former international stars Mateja Kezman and Nicky Butt failed to help South China to victory as the Hong Kong outfit were held 1-1 by Indonesians Persipura Jayapura at Hong Kong Stadium.
In Group D, Al Wehdat claimed a 1-0 win at Al Talaba in Iraq while former AFC Cup champions Kuwait SC ran out 3-1 winners at Al Suwaiq.
Finally, Duhok of Iraq beat Kuwaitis Al Nasr 1-0 to move level on points at the top of Group C with Al Faisaly after the Jordanian side beat Syrians Al Jaish 2-0.