Beijing down Japanese champions in ACL

BEIJING (AFP) - China's Beijing Guoan saw off a late revival to beat J-League title-holders Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 and break an eight-match win drought in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

At a packed Workers Stadium in Beijing, the green-clad hosts dominated for long stages and they led for most of the game after defender Lang Zheng planted a shot into the bottom corner on 21 minutes following some heavy pressure.

Zhang Xizhe's close-range effort cannoned off the foot of the post on 56 minutes and the midfielder was denied in a double attempt shortly afterwards as Beijing looked to be cruising to victory.

But almost out of nowhere, Hiroshima's Naoki Ishihara - with a strong hint of handball - controlled a rebound from Okamoto Tomotaka's shot and stabbed home an equaliser on 79 minutes.

However, Beijing were not to be denied and just four minutes later Piao Cheng wriggled free of his marker on the edge of his box and fired home a right-footed winner on the turn.

The win was Beijing's first since 2010 in the AFC Champions League, and kept up their unbeaten record at home against Japanese clubs in the competition.

It followed Jiangu Sainty's tense 0-0 draw against Japan's Vegalta Sendai on Tuesday in Nanjing, scene of a notorious wartime massacre by Japanese troops which remains a source of tension between the two countries.

However, Uzekistan's Bunyodkor remained just above Beijing at the top of Group G on goal difference after a last-gasp Kamoliddin Murzoev equaliser rescued a 2-2 draw with 2009 champions Pohang Steelers in Tashkent.

Oleksandr Pyshur scored for the hosts on the quarter-hour but two goals in seven second-half minutes, from Lee Myung-Joo and Lee Gwang-Hun 67, appeared to have given Pohang the away win - before Murzoev's strike in the fourth minute of added time.

Earlier, Leandro Domingues scored twice and created another as J-League club Kashiwa Reysol torpedoed Australia's Central Coast Mariners 3-1 to take a firm grip on Group H.

The Brazilian midfielder cancelled out Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk's headed opener before setting up Kenta Kano in a fine move to put the home side ahead on 67 minutes.

As the clock ticked down to the final whistle, he buried a sizzling volley to make sure of the win, and the Mariners missed a chance to narrow the deficit when Michael McGlinchey's penalty was saved by Kashiwa 'keeper Takanori Sugeno.

Emperor's Cup-holders Kashiwa now have a maximum six points from two games in Group H, an advantage of four points over South Korea's Suwon Bluewings who were held 0-0 at home by Guizhou Renhe of China.

Later on Wednesday 2003 champions Al Ain lost 2-0 away at Iranian outfit Esteghlal, for whom former Aston Villa defender Jlloyd Samuel scored their first.

Another former Premier League player Djibril Cisse was also on the mark scoring a double - his second set up by former Paris Saint Germain forward Nene - for Qatari side Al Gharafa as they came from a goal down to beat Iranian club Sepahan 3-1.

Another striker on form was Ahmad Al Hosni whose brace saw last season's beaten finalists Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia maintain their 100 percent record so far in this campaign with a 2-1 win away at Emirates side Al Nasr.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.