- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) - Italy midfielder Alessandro Diamanti scored two of Guangzhou Evergrande’s four second-half goals as the reigning champions made an emphatic start to their Asian Champions League defense with a 4-2 win over Australia’s Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.

Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Diamanti scored in the 59th and 65th minutes to draw Guangzhou level, before Huang Bowen and Elkeson added goals in the 71st and 84th minutes to give the Chinese club the three points in Group G.

Melbourne dominated the first half, with Pablo Contreras opening the scoring in the 37th minute and Leigh Boxham extending the lead five minutes later.

Guangzhou coach Marcello Lippi said his team weathered a “difficult game.”

“Our opponents are in the middle of their league season and in good shape,” the former Italy coach said. “We were behind their performance in the first half and they deserved to lead 2-0. But in the second half we found our tempo to control the game. Most importantly, our players showed a strong desire to win.”

In the other Group G match, Lee Seung-gi scored twice and Leonardo converted a penalty as South Korean club Jeonbuk Motors defeated Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos 3-0.

After a scoreless first half at Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Lee put the hosts on the scoresheet in the 61st minute when he beat Yokohama goalkeeper Tetsuya Enomoto, and doubled the lead just eight minutes later.

Leonardo put the game out of reach in the 71st when he was awarded a penalty kick after being taken down by Enomoto inside the area.

Qatar’s Al Sadd claimed a 3-1 home win over Iranian side Sepahan Isfahan in Group D thanks to goals from Khalfan Ibrahim, Nadir Belhadj and Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Tabata.

In the other Group D match, Nassir Al Shamrani scored twice in the second half to give Saudi club Al Hilal a 2-2 draw with Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates.

In Group H, Brazilian forward Renato scored from a curling left-footed free kick in from 22 meters just after the half-hour mark to lead Kawasaki Frontale to a 1-0 win over China’s Guizhou Renhe.

Kim Shin-wook and Ko Chang-hyun scored in the first half and Kang Min-soo added another after the break to lead South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai to a 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers. Brendan Santalab scored in the first half for Western Sydney, in its tournament debut.

In Group C, Ibrahim Amuah Diaky and Asamoah scored either side of halftime to lead UAE side Al Ain to a 2-1 win over Qatari leaguer leaders Lekhwiya, while Karim Ansarifard scored the lone goal in Iranian team Tractor Sazi’s 1-0 home win over Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia.

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