Kashiwa, Al Ain, win in Asian Champions League
SYDNEY (AP) — Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol scored three goals in a 15-minute span to remain unbeaten after three matches in the Asian Champions League, while the Central Coast Mariners kept pace with their first win in Group H.
In Group D, Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates maintained its good run of form, beating Qatari club Al Rayyan 2-1 to improven its chances of advancing to the knockout stage.
Kashiwa scored four second-half goals to beat South Korean side Suwon 6-2 away. Trent Sainsbury scored for the first time for the Mariners, heading in an 80th-minute goal to give the Australian side a 2-1 win over Chinese club Guizhou Renhe at Gosford north of Sydney.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute on Pedj Bojic’s goal but an own-goal by keeper Mat Ryan equalized for the visitors.
Michael McGlinchey sent a perfect right-wing cross for the charging 21-year-old Sainsbury to head in the winner at the far post.
“We made it real hard for ourselves,” said Mariners coach Graham Arnold, who led the team for his 100th match. “I’ve been around in international football long enough to know that you can really get hurt badly if you don’t capitalize on your advantage and we didn’t do that.”
The results left the Mariners trailing Kashiwa, who were led by Ryoichi Kurisawa and Masato Kudo with two goals each Wednesday, by five points in Group H.
Suwon is in third place after two draws and a loss and Guizhou trails with one point.
In Group F on Wednesday, South Korean side Jeonbuk FC beat the Urawa Red Diamonds 3-1 at Saitama, Japan.
Genki Haraguchi gave Urawa a 1-0 lead with a goal in the seventh minute, but Lee Seung-ki leveled for Jeonbuk in the 51st. Lee Dong-gook scored the winner in the 64th minute and Enio Oliveria Junior Eninho added the winner’s third goal six minutes later.
It was Jeonbuk’s first win to go with two draws and put the South Korean side in second behind Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande, which routed last-place Thai side Muangthong United 4-0.
Dario Conca scored twice — including one from the penalty spot in stoppage time — while Muriqui and Gao Lin added goals for Marcello Lippi’s side. The Chinese Super League champions have made an unbeaten start to the 2013 campaign.
Playing without leading scorer Asamoah Gyan of Ghana, Al Ain turned to Emirati star Omar Abdulrahman to go second in Group D.
After Al Ain’s Mirel Radoi and Jires Kembo-Ekoko came close, Al Rayyan took the lead in the 32nd when Al Ain goalkeeper Mahmood Al Mas misjudged a speculative punt forward and the ball fell at the feet of Nilmar, who slotted it into an unguarded net.
But the Emirati side drew level two minutes later when Abdulrahman found Kembo-Ekoko with a perfectly placed pass and he fired it past keeper Oumar Barry. Al Ain’s winner arrived with 20 minutes left, when Abdulrahman flicked a pass over the Al Rayyan defense to Alex Brosque who chested the ball down to score.
“I’m happy that we managed to win the match, which was hard,” Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu said. “The win came in difficult circumstances because we missed some key players, while other players were returning from injuries like Omar Abdulrahman and Mirel Radoi.”
Iranian side Esteghlal returned to the top of Group D after two goals in the final 10 minutes secured a 2-1 victory over Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia.
Al Hilal went ahead in the 67th when Salman al-Faraj cut the ball back for Salem al-Dawsari, who fired a low shot into the bottom corner.
But Esteghalal’s Pejman Montazeri equalized with a powerful header 10 minutes from time and substitute Arash Borhani completed the comeback with the winner in the 86th minute.
In Group B, Qatari club Lekhwiya went top of the table after beating Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor 3-1, courtesy of two late goals from Qatar international Sebastian Soria.
Senegalese striker Issiar Dia opened the scoring for the Qatari side in the 21st, only to see Gulom Urunov to pull Pakhtakor level.
But Soria restored the home side’s lead with six minutes remaining before sealing Lekhwiya’s second win in Group B with another goal in stoppage time.
“We deserved to win because we played well. Our players had a great game and they showed huge desire to win and get the three important points and they managed to win with a great fighting spirit,” Lekhwiya coach Eric Gerets said.
In the other Group B match, Nasser Masood scored the only goal nine minutes from time as Al Shabab of the United Arab Emirates revived is campaign with a 1-0 win over Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia.
Ettifaq is now in last place with one point and is the only team yet to score after three rounds of matches.