Kashiwa, Al Gharafa win in ACL
KASHIWA, Japan (AP) -Leandro Domingues scored two goals and set up another as Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol beat Australian side Central Coast Mariners 3-1 to remain at the top in Group H of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.
In a Group C match, former France international striker Djibril Cisse scored twice as Al Gharafa defeated Iranian league champion Sepahan 3-1.
Kashiwa stayed perfect with six points in Group H, while the Mariners have one point after an opening 0-0 draw with South Korean club Suwon Bluewings.
In the other group match, Suwon and Chinese team Guizhou Renhe finished in a goalless draw.
Kenta Kano converted a pass from Domingues in the 67th minute to give Kashiwa the lead for good. The Brazilian added another with a clever volley with two minutes remaining.
Patrick Zwaanswijk gave the visitors the lead only eight minutes in but Domingues equalized in the 21st minute.
Central Coast had a chance to pull one back after Domingues' second goal but Kashiwa goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno saved substitute Michael McGlinchey's spot kick. It was the fifth penalty in a row the Mariners have failed to convert.
In Doha, defender Mohammad Ali Ahmadi gave Sepahan the lead after just 13 minutes but a close-range strike four minutes later and a second-half header from Cisse put Al Gharafa in front. Substitute midfielder Majdi Siddiq put the match out of reach in stoppage time when he slotted home a shot from close range.
"Despite the fact that we went behind early in the game, the players showed good determination to win and to get back into the game,'' Al Gharafa coach Habib Sadek said. "The equalizer that we scored motivated us and our strategy is to win matches at home and that's what we did tonight.''
In the other Group C match, Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli tightened its grip at the top of the table with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over 10-man Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates.
Al Nasr took the early lead in the 13th when Japan's Takayuki Morimoto's scored from a corner. Al Ahli drew level five minutes later, when Oman striker Amad al-Hosni scored the first of his two goals with a close range strike.
Al Nasr was reduced to 10 men when its Brazilian captain Leo Lima was shown a red card 12 minutes before halftime. Al Ahli took full advantage, scoring four minutes later when Victor Simoes headed Abdulrahim Jezawi's cross back across the face of goal for Al Hosni who scored with a diving header.
In a battle of the two top teams in Group D, Iran's Esteghlal dominated the United Arab Emirates' Al Ain 2-0 to remain unbeaten.
After a scoreless first half, Esteghalal stepped up the pressure and it paid off when Jiloyd Samuel headed home a cross in the 64th. Nine minutes later, substitute striker Farhad Majidi doubled the home side's lead.
Al Ain tried to get back in the match but Esteghalal keeper Mahdi Rahmati made several acrobatic saves.
Yasser al-Qahtani netted a brace to lead Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia over Al Rayyan of Qatar 3-1 and into second in Group D alongside Al Ain.
After a scoreless first half, al-Qahtani opened the scoring in the 57th with a glancing header and then netted a second 16 minutes later. Al Rayyan's Hamid Ismaeil gave his side a chance with five minutes left only to see Al Hilal's Mohammed al-Shalhoub respond a minute later to ensure the Saudi side secured the three points at home.
In Group G, Piao Cheng scored in the 79th minute to lift Beijing Guoan to a 2-1 win over J-League champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Lang Zheng opened the scoring in the 21st minute at Beijing Workers' Stadium but Naoki Ishihara equalized for Hiroshima in the 75th.
In the other group match, Kamoliddin Murzoev scored in the final minute of stoppage time as Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor salvaged a 2-2 draw with South Korea's Pohang Steelers in Tashkent.
Oleksandr Pishchur put the hosts ahead in the first half but the Steelers erased the deficit on goals from Lee Myeong-ju on the hour mark and Lee Gwang-hoon seven minutes later before Murzoev's last-gasp equalizer.
Beijing and Bunyodkor improved to four points, two ahead of the Steelers, while Hiroshima remained winless.
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