Forlan opens account as Cerezo hit 4 past Buriram

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Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan was on target as Japan's Cerezo Osaka beat Thailand's Buriram United 4-0 in the AFC Champions League this week.

Cerezo Osaka put the AFC Champions League on notice with an emphatic 4-0 defeat of Thailand's Buriram United this week that featured a first goal for 2010 FIFA World Cup MVP Diego Forlan, while Al Jazira maintained their unbeaten record with a 2-2 draw against Iranian giants Esteghlal in a goal-laden Matchday Three of the continental championship.

Takumi Minamino scored twice while highly-rated Cerezo striker Yoichiro Kakitani was also on target alongside Uruguayan Forlan as the J.League side eased to a convincing victory over the Thai treble champions at Nagai Stadium.

And Cerezo moved within a point of Group E leaders Shandong Luneng and Pohang Steelers after the early pacesetters shared an enthralling 2-2 draw with goals from Kim Tae-soo and Kim Seung-dae salvaging a point for the 10-man Korean champions against the Chinese Super League runners-up.

"We've earned the result that we had wanted today, and I am satisfied with that. We scored more than I had expected, and the early goal we had three minutes into the game affected the result a lot," said Cerezo coach Ranko Popovic after Tuesday's win.

"However, we tended to give away the initiative of the game to our opponents, after the first goal and also after the second goal too. That's something we have to fix. We should learn how to organise the game after taking a lead."

In Group A, Al Jazira twice took the lead through Abdelaziz Barrada at Tehran's Azadi Stadium only to be pegged back on both occasions by two-time Asian champions Esteghlal.

Unbeaten Al Jazira, though, remain in a strong position at the top of the table with Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia moving up to second place following a 4-3 win over Qatari side Al Rayyan.

Last year's semi-finalists Esteghlal, by contrast, remain rooted to the bottom of the group despite picking up their first point of the continental championship following back-to-back defeats by Al Shabab and Al Rayyan.

"It was a very good game and I would like to give congratulations to my players, they played absolutely without fear and they could have come out victorious," said Al Jazira coach Walter Zenga.

Also in the West, Group D's fixtures were graced by the presence of two early goals of the season contenders from the boots of Al Ahli's Ahmed Khalil and Al Hilal's Thiago Neves.

Khalil's spectacular 40-yard strike set Al Ahli on their way to a 2-1 win over Sepahan in Iran, which was secured courtesy of a stoppage time effort from Ismail Al Hammadi.

Meanwhile, Brazilian Neves unleashed a stunning free-kick from over 30 yards out to cancel out Talal Al Bloushi's opener for Al Sadd.

And Neves completed his brace with another strike in the second half, but Nadir Belhadj's equaliser, his third in three consecutive continental games, meant the teams shared a 2-2 draw.

The results mean Al Sadd and Al Ahli are separated only by goal difference at the top of Group D, with Sepahan a further two points behind in third and winless Al Hilal remaining bottom.

Meanwhile, goals from Tsukasa Shiotani and Yojiro Takahagi finally ended Sanfrecce Hiroshima's eight-game AFC Champions League winless streak as the J.League champions recorded a deserved 2-1 victory over FC Seoul in Group F.

The result lifted the J.League side off the bottom of the group and puts them back into the reckoning for the knockout stages, while Beijing Guoan earned their first win of their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners that moved Gregorio Manzano's side to the top of the standings.

Although Hiroshima put an end to their unwanted run of results, in Group H, former champions Ulsan Hyundai had been looking to extend theirs with an AFC Champions League winning streak that had run to 11 games.

But an 87th minute header from Yang Hao secured Chinese FA Cup winners Guizhou Renhe a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Munsu Stadium to end Ulsan's impressive record.

With Yang's header earning Guizhou a first point of the campaign, Ulsan now sit just a point clear of Western Sydney Wanderers at the top of the table after the A-League side earlier edged out Japan's Kawasaki Frontale by a single goal.

Elsewhere, Lekhwiya picked up their first win in Group C with 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad on Tuesday thanks to a goal from striker Sebastian Soria and a penalty by Korea Republic international Nam Tae-hee.

With the win, Lekhwiya moved on to four points, two behind Group C leaders Al Ain after the Emirati side recorded a 3-1 win over Iran's Tractorsazi Tabriz, while two-time champions Al Ittihad slipped to the bottom of the group after suffering their second loss in three games.

In the East, defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande posted a 3-1 win over former winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to move to the top of Group G, while third-place Melbourne Victory beat Japan's Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 in Australia.

Finally in Group B, Iran's Foolad Khouzestan shared a 1-1 draw with Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan, while the match between Saudi league champions Al Fateh and Qatar's El Jaish ended in a goalless stalemate.

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