AFC Champions League Wrap: Mariners overcome Sanfrecce, Seoul held
By Football News
Mile Sterjovski's quickfire brace saw Central Coast Mariners come from behind to beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 in the AFC Champions League.
The reigning J.League champions moved ahead on 21 minutes at the Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, thanks to Tsukasa Shiotani's strike.
That goal was followed by the Sanfrecce players paying homage to the victims of the 2011 Japan tsunami - with Tuesday marking the third anniversary of the disaster - by laying down to spell out 3-11, the date of the tragedy.
Sanfrecce were unable to build on the advantage, however, as Sterjovski levelled almost immediately from kick-off in the 23rd minute, before following up nine minutes later with what proved to be the winner.
The result leaves Sanfrecce winless after two matches in Group F, while 2013 runners-up Seoul top the group following a 1-1 draw at 10-man Beijing Guoan.
Peter Utaka had put the Chinese outfit ahead on 19 minutes at the Workers' Stadium, but Ko Yo-Han restored parity on 72 minutes.
Guoan were reduced to 10 men in second-half stoppage time when goalkeeper Yang Zhi was shown a straight red card for bringing down Ko outside the area.
In Group B, Saudi Arabia champions Al Fateh fell to a 1-0 defeat at Foolad thanks to Bakhtiar Rahmani's second-half penalty, while a Nilmar double helped El Jaish to 2-1 victory at Uzbekistan side Bunyodkor.
Elsewhere, Shandong Luneng secured a straightforward 3-1 triumph at Cerezo Osaka.
Aloisio and a brace from Brazilian Vagner Love put the visitors into a 3-0 lead at Nagai Stadium, while the only sour note for Cuca's men came in the form of a late consolation goal from Yoichiro Kakitani.
Pohang Steelers join Luneng on four points in Group E, as goals from Kim Tae-Su and Kim Seung-Dae ensured a 2-1 win at Thai champions Buriram United.
Al Jazira made it two wins from two in Group A with a 3-1 win over Saudi outfit Al Shabaab, while Esteghlal have lost their opening two matches following a 1-0 reverse at Al Rayyan.