Changchun Yatai and Beijing Guo'an got their Asian Champions League campaign off to a winning start yesterday, with the Chinese Super League champion beating Vietnam's Binh Duong 2-1 and Beijing seeing off another Vietnamese outfit Nam Dinh 3-1 away.
Nam Dinh led at halftime courtesy of Le Van Duyet's spectacular volley in the 14th minute.
Beijing Guoan squandered several equalizing chances before Yan Xiangchuang found the net in the 57th.
Tao Wei (L) of China's Guoan breaks through during the Group F match against Vietnam's Nam Dinh at the AFC Champions League 2008, March 12, 2008. China's Guoan won the match 3-1.(Xinhua Photo)
Just three minutes later, the visitors went ahead when substitute Du Wenhui got on the end of a throughball and converted from the edge of the penalty area.
Nam Dinh's Emmanuel Onyeji was sent off with 12 minutes left and Zhang Shuai put the result beyond doubt with an injury-time goal.
In Changchun, the hosts took the lead in the fourth minute when Du Zhenyu curled a freekick over the defensive wall and into the far corner of the net.
The visitors almost equalized in the 14th when Nguyen Anh Duc's header hit the post, and he did draw his side level eight minutes into the second half when Changchun failed to clear its defensive lines and he slid the ball home.
The Chinese champion scored what proved the winner in the 70th when defender Cui Wei swiveled and shot into the roof of the net from close range.
Wang Dong (right) of Changchun Yatai, the 2007 Chinese Super League champion, in action against Binh Duong of Vietnam during their Asian Champions League clash in Changchun, northeastern Jilin Province, yesterday. Changchun won 2-1.
In the other Group E clash, Australia's Adelaide United stunned Pohang Steelers 2-0 in Seoul, despite playing for most of the match with 10 men.
Robert Cornthwaite and Bruce Djite got the goals in a spirited performance from the visitors, who had Jonas Salley sent off on half-time.
Elsewhere, Beijing's main rival in Group F Japanese champions Kashima Antlers hit nine goals to beat Thailand's Krung Thai Bank 9-1, while only an injury-time equalizer prevented compatriots Gamba Osaka suffering a shock defeat to another Thai opponent Chonburi, the match ending 1-1.
Australia's Melbourne Victory beat South Korea's Chunnam Dragons 2-0.
(Agencies via Shanghai Daily March 13, 2008)