Chi­nese clubs stum­ble in Asian Cham­pi­ons League

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Big-spend­ing Chi­nese clubs en­dured a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing night in the Asian Cham­pi­ons League on to­day. Guangzhou Ever­grande, coached by Luiz Felipe Sco­lari, and Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son's Shang­hai SIPG both failed to win their open­ing group matches.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Guangzhou, with for­mer Atletico Madrid striker Jack­son Martinez mak­ing his de­but, were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Po­hang Steel­ers of South Korea.

Guangzhou were forced to play the Group H match in an empty sta­dium as pun­ish­ment for se­cretly film­ing Dubai's Al Ahli's train­ing ses­sion be­fore the fi­nal last year.

Ja­panese club Urawa Reds went top in the group by beat­ing Syd­ney FC 2-0. Yuki Muto and Shinzo Koroki scored in each half.

Ear­lier, Shang­hai SIPG lost to Mel­bourne Vic­tory 2-1 in Group G. The Aus­tralian team scored the win­ner from a dis­puted penalty, con­verted by Be­sart Ber­isha with 20 min­utes re­main­ing. Kosta Bar­barouses was fouled in the box, but Shang­hai claimed con­tact was made out­side the area.

Mel­bourne took a first-half lead when Jai Ing­ham fin­ished a quick counter-at­tack. Wu Lei made it 1-1 for Shang­hai in the 52nd minute.

"It was a good foot­ball match first of all and I don't think we de­served to lose if you look at the way we played foot­ball," Eriks­son said. "Five games to go, and if we go on play­ing like this, I think we will play bet­ter and bet­ter be­cause the con­di­tions will be bet­ter and bet­ter as well. We have to take points some­where else." Mel­bourne have never made it past the group stage in five pre­vi­ous Cham­pi­ons League ap­pear­ances but moved into first place in the group af­ter South Korean club Su­won Bluew­ings held Ja­panese team Gamba Osaka to a 0-0 draw.

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