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FC Seoul makes strong start to Asian Champs league

- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - FC Seoul made an emphatic start to the Asian Champions League, scoring in each half to beat a lackluster Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in the opening round of group play on Tuesday.

In a night that featured five draws from the eight matches played, 2013 runner-up Seoul provided the most dominant performance.

Spanish defender Osmar converted a contentious penalty in the 33rd minute to give the lead over the Australian side. Mariners fullback Josh Rose was ruled to have fouled striker Sergio Escudero - despite limited contact and no appeals from the home side.

Yun Il-lok sealed the win for Seoul in the 57th when he gathered a low cross from Kim Chiwoo to find the net.

Later, Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates overcame some sloppy defending to beat Qatar's Al Rayyan 3-2 in Group A.

Al Jazira made a bright start and was 2-0 up at halftime thanks to a third-minute goal from Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo, followed by an Abdelaziz Barrasa effort six minutes later.

Al Rayyan struck back via Lucho Gonzalez in the 59th minute before substitute Ahmed Al Gheilani restored Al Jazira's two-goal lead in the 73rd. Kalu Uche scored a consolation goal for the Qataris in the final minute.

In the other Group A match, and the night's only other result, Saudi Club Al Shabab edged Esteghlal of Iran 1-0 after Palestinian forward Imad Khalili found the net in the 59th minute in Tehran.

Kazuhiko Chiba scored in the 78th to give Japanese hope Sanfrecce Hiroshima a 1-1 home draw with Beijing Guoan in the other Group F match.

Former FC Seoul midfielder Ha Dae-sung opened the scoring for Beijing with a close-range strike in the 63rd.

Beijing finished the game with 10 men after Darko Matic was red-carded for a foul on Takuma Asano in the final minute of regulation time.

Thai champion Buriram United claimed a last-gasp 1-1 draw at China's Shandong Luneng in Group E when substitute Adisak Kraisorn scored three minutes into stoppage time.

Shandong looked to have the three points wrapped up minutes earlier when Liu Binbin found finally found the net for the Chinese Super League runner-up in the 83rd.

In the other Group E match, three-time ACL winner, the Pohang Steelers of South Korea, drew 1-1 with Japanese side Cerezo Osaka thanks to a 61st-minute goal from striker Bae Chun-suk.

Yoichiro Kakitani gave Osaka the lead in the 11th.

Group B proved a disappointment as Qatar's El Jaish drew 0-0 with Iran's Foolad Khouzestan, and it also finished 0-0 between Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan and Al Fateh of Saudi Arabia.

The opening round continues Wednesday with Tractorsazi Tabriz of Iran vs. Saudi side Al Ittihad and Al Ain of the UAE vs. Qatar's Lekhwiya in Group C; Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia vs. Ahli of the UAE and Foolad Sepahan of Iran vs. Qatar's Al Sadd in Group D; Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea vs. Yakohama F Marinos of Japan and defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande of China vs. Australia's Melbourne Victory in Group G; and Western Sydney Wanderers of Australia vs. Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea and Japan's Kawasaki Frontale vs. China's Guizhou Renhe in Group H.

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