Group F: Guangzhou Evergrande FC (CHN) 2-0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (JPN)
Guangzhou: Guangzhou Evergrande struck two early goals to earn a 2-0 victory over Group F rivals Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Matchday One of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
Sanfrecce had an early chance when Hiroya Matsumoto’s ball over the top released Douglas Vieira. The striker had a clear run on goal but took the ball too far wide and his effort from a tight angle was saved by Zeng Cheng.
Guangzhou responded by starting to dominate possession and it was no surprise when they took the lead after a fine team move in the 19th minute. Li Xuepeng’s deft pass released Yu Hanchao down the left and the winger’s cross was headed in by Anderson Talisca.
Group F: Melbourne Victory (AUS) 1-3 Daegu FC (KOR)
Melbourne: Korea Republic's Daegu FC fought back from a goal down to beat Melbourne Victory of Australia 3-1 in their 2019 AFC Champions League Group F opener on Tuesday.
In their very first AFC Champions League campaign, the 2018 Korean FA Cup champions were on the back foot early as the home side jumped out of the blocks to dominate early proceedings, with Raul Baena and Terry Antonis both having early efforts from long range.
Group E: Kashima Antlers (JPN) 2-1 Johor Darul Ta'zim (MAS)
Ibaraki: Japan's Kashima Antlers got their AFC Champions League title defence underway with a 2-1 win over Johor Darul Ta'zim of Malaysia in Group E on Tuesday.
There was an early scare for the visitors when JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias brought down Takeshi Kanamori on the edge of the box. The away side were relieved that the referee blew for a free-kick and not a penalty.
Group E: Gyeongnam FC (KOR) 2-2 Shandong Luneng FC (CHN)
Changwon: Changwon: Former Italian international striker Graziano Pelle opened his AFC Champions League campaign with a brace as Shandong Luneng came from behind to draw 2-2 with tournament debutants Gyeongnam FC in a hotly contested Group E encounter on Tuesday.
On a chilly night at the Changwon Football Center Stadium, both sides started well in an evenly contested opening half.
Shandong had the first chance of the match when Wu Xinghan was left free in the box from a free-kick, but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
At the other end, Shandong’s star signing, Belgian international Marouane Fellaini made a crucial defensive header on 11 minutes as Song Ju-hun looked to get on the end of Lee Yeong-jae’s in-swinging free-kick.
Preview - Group H: Shanghai SIPG FC (CHN) v Kawasaki Frontale (JPN)
Shanghai: The defending champions of the Chinese Super League and the J.League will face off in Group H of the AFC Champions League on Wednesday when Shanghai SIPG host Kawasaki Frontale at Shanghai Stadium.
Shanghai finally ended Guangzhou Evergrande’s dominance in China after winning the league in 2018 and return to the competition for the fourth successive year. Their best performance was when they reached the semi-finals in 2017.
The hosts, who remain unbeaten at home in the AFC Champions League, began the defence of their domestic title with a 4-0 win over city rivals Shanghai Shenhua on Friday and also defeated Beijing FC to win the Super Cup a week earlier.
Preview - Group H: Sydney FC (AUS) v Ulsan Hyundai FC (KOR)
Sydney: Australia’s Sydney FC and Ulsan Hyundai of Korea Republic will get their 2019 AFC Champions League Group H campaigns underway when they meet at Jubilee Stadium on Wednesday.
The A-League side, who are making their fifth appearance in the competition, were eliminated at the group stage in 2018 after failing to win a game or score a goal at home. Their best performance to date was when they reached the Round of 16 in 2016.
Unlike the other teams in their group, they are well into their domestic season and currently sit second in the A-League after winning their last two games, against Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United.
Isfahan: Goalkeeper Jalal Hassan has admitted that Al Zawraa were happy to come away from the Islamic Republic of Iran with a point after the Iraqi side opened their 2019 AFC Champions League Group A campaign with a 0-0 draw against Zobahan on Monday.
The game at Foolad Shahr Stadium marked the first time an Iraqi side had appeared in the competition since Air Force Club and Erbil in 2008.
Al Zawraa spent much of the game on the back foot, with Zobahan posting 24 shots on goal across the 90 minutes, but the Iraqi backline remained resolute to ensure a happy return to a competition they last graced in 2007.