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Group G: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC (KOR) 3-1 Beijing FC (CHN)

Jeonju: Lee Dong-gook played a starring role as Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors defeated Beijing FC 3-1 in their Group G opener in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old regained his position as the tournament’s all-time top scorer when his 37th strike to put Jeonbuk 2-1 ahead before he set up the home side’s killer third.

The visitors started confidently and created the first chance in the seventh minute when Cedric Bakambu fired wide after a through ball from Piao Cheng.

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But it was the Jeonbuk who took the lead seven minutes later through Han Kyo-won. The winger took a pass from Lee Seung-gi and twisted and turned to create space before side-footing home.

Beijing looked the more accomplished side in possession but struggled to break down Jeonbuk’s defence.

In the 38th minute, the hosts threatened again when Ricardo Lopes broke down the left and teed up Lee Dong-gook. The striker took a touch and saw his shot deflected wide.

But Beijing finally opened up the home defence in the 41st minute when Jonathan Viera cut the ball back for Zhang Xizhe who rifled home from 12 yards out.

The home side regained the lead just two minutes into the second half. Lopes stole possession midway inside the Jeonbuk half and played the ball through for Han Kyo-won. The scorer of the first goal sent the ball across to Lee Dong-gook who stabbed home from six yards out.

Han Kyo-won came close to making it 3-1 minutes later but shot wide from close range. Beijing hit back with Viera’s long-range effort drifting just past the post.

Lee Dong-gook almost added his second when his header from Kim Jin-su’s corner was brilliantly saved by Zou Dehai and the striker then curled a 20-yard shot off the bar with just under 30 minutes remaining.

But Jeonbuk would not be denied and added their third of the night in the 71st minute. Lee Dong-gook picked up the ball on the left of the penalty area and floated in a cross that Kim Shin-wook rose to head into the corner and put the game beyond Beijing.

Jeonbuk will now visit Buriram United in Thailand on March 13th and Beijing FC will hope to get their first points on the board when they host Urawa Reds Diamonds of Japan.

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