Steelers, Motors show they have the powerDefending AFC champions Pohang Steelers pulled off a hard-fought win at home over China’s Shandong Luneng, and a last-gasp goal by Lee Dong-gook helped Jeonbuk Motors to a win over Changchun Yatai.
Noh Byung-joon scored off a free kick five minutes into the match, and that was all the Steelers needed to defeat Shandong Luneng 1-0. Pohang dominated in all aspects of the match, and Noh and Kim Jae-sung played an active role in the midfield as the Steelers pulled off their second win in Champions League play in front of the home crowd.
The Steelers sit second behind Adelaide United of Australia in their group, with two wins and one loss.
Korea international Lee Dong-gook’s last-gasp goal helped secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory for Jeonbuk Motors over Changchun Yatai in the Group F game. Substitute Du Zhenyu put hosts Changchun ahead in the 64th minute with a left-footed drive but Choi Tae-uk of Jeonbuk responded with a goal of his own 10 minutes later.
Lee scored the winner for the K-League champions five minutes before the final whistle, curling home Seo Jung-jin’s pass inside the box.
Japanese giants Kashima Antlers and Adelaide United powered to victories in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday to keep their unbeaten records intact.
Kashima crushed Indonesian minnows Persipura Jayapura 5-0 with strikes by Yuya Osako, Toru Araiba, and Mitsuo Ogasawara and a brace from Brazilian striker Marquinhos making it three wins out of three. The J-League outfit started strongly but was hampered by the slippery conditions until Araiba made the breakthrough on 39 minutes when his cross found the net.
A minute into first-half injury time, Marquinhos doubled the lead after meeting a Daiki Iwamasa corner kick. Kashima were in a different class and three more goals in the second half ended a miserable night for hapless Persipura, which has now allowed 13 goals in three games.
At Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide moved closer to the knockout round with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Group H. Adelaide bounced back after Sanfrecce took the lead, scoring twice in four minutes to remain unbeaten.
Captain Travis Dodd opened the scoring with a glancing header after 11 minutes but Sanfrecce raced to a 2-1 lead after a volley from Kazuyuki Morisaki in the 55th minute and a header from Issei Takayanagi 20 minutes later. But giant defender Robert Cornthwaite headed a 78th-minute equalizer and Brazilian Cassio found the net with a deflected free kick to claim victory for the Reds with eight minutes left.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal looked destined for its third successive victory as it led 1-0 against United Arab Emirates champions Al Ahli going into time added on in their Group D clash in Riyadh. However, Abdelmotaleb Ibrahim levelled in the 91st minute to give the visitors their first point of the campaign.
The group’s other match saw Qatar’s Al Sadd thrash Iranians Mes Kerman 4-1, with a double by Leandro in four minutes just after half time. Al Hilal’s fellow Saudis and last year’s finalists Al Ittihad finally got their first win of the competition as they won 2-0 away at Emirati side Al Wahda, which is at the bottom of Group B and yet to garner a point.
Iranian side Zobahan virtue of its win leapfrogged past its opponents into the top spot in Group B.