Chinese clubs stumble in Asian Champions League
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.