TEIXEIRA DOUBLE SPARKS JIANGSU
Beat Adelaide to top Group H, Evergrande scramble late goal to hold Suwon
ALEX Teixeira’s double strike put China’s deep-pocketed Jiangsu Suning on top of their AFC Champions League group with a 2-1 win over Adelaide United on Wednesday.
As Chinese rivals Guangzhou Evergrande scrambled a 2-2 draw with Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Teixeira scored an early tap-in and a brilliant solo effort late on in Nanjing.
The match-winning performance by the former Liverpool target, a €50 million (RM235 million) signing from Shakhtar Donetsk last year, put Jiangsu top of Group H with a maximum six points.
Jiangsu, bankrolled by the Suning group which also controls Inter Milan, were runners-up to Evergrande in last year’s Chinese Super League but the Asian title looms as a much bigger prize.
They were quickly on top against Adelaide when Teixeira snapped up a rebound from former Chelsea man Ramires on 14 minutes.
Adelaide were threatening to equalise but on 72 minutes, Teixeira set off on a run from the left, drifting past a defender before nutmegging goalkeeper Daniel Margush.
Substitute forward Eli Babalj grabbed a goal for Adelaide in injury time but there was to be no miracle comeback for the 2008 Asian finalists and reigning Australian champions.
Earlier, Brazilian forward Alan struck late to spare Evergrande’s blushes 2-2 against Suwon, just a week after the Chinese giants hammered Hong Kong’s Eastern 7-1.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team were headed for a shock defeat in South Korea before Alan slammed home a loose ball on 81 minutes to keep the two-time Asian champions top of Group G.
In pouring rain at Suwon World Cup Stadium, Evergrande’s Ricardo Goulart had cancelled out Santos’s early opener with a stunning half-volley on 25 minutes.
Suwon’s Johnathan made it 2-1 shortly afterwards before Alan, the game’s fourth Brazilian scorer, secured an important away point for Evergrande with his late equaliser.
In Group H, Yasuhito Endo’s own goal triggered a collapse by Gamba Osaka as the first-week table-toppers slumped to a 4-1 home defeat to South Korea’s Jeju United.
Japan international Endo nodded the ball into his own net on 44 minutes before Lee ChangMin doubled Jeju’s advantage in first-half injury time.
After the break, Marcelo Toscano’s strike and a longrange rocket from Lee made it 40, before Ademilson grabbed a consolation goal with one minute remaining.
In Hong Kong, debutants Eastern flirted with their first Champions League win before drawing 1-1 with 10-man Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale.
Manuel Bleda’s 14th-minute penalty — after Tatsuki Nara’s straight red card — gave Eastern hope of a morale-boosting win after last week’s crushing, 7-1 defeat to Evergrande.
But Eastern, led by their trailblazing woman coach Chan Yuenting, had to settle for their first point in the competition after Ko Itakura’s second-half equaliser.
AFP PIC Alex Teixeira of Jiangsu (in blue) fights for the ball with Dylan Mcgowan (right) of Adelaide United during their AFC Champions League match on Wednesday. Jiangsu won 2-1.