Pohang regain winning touch

Pohang Steelers get back on track as Gamba Osaka struggle in Asian Champions League.

    Pohang secured the winner in injury time to put the champions back on track [AFP]

    South Korea's Pohang Steelers secured vital points in their Asian Champions League campaign with a welcome 2-1 victory over Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Steelyard.

    The defending champions needed a win after their costly loss against Adelaide United in Group H last week, but it took a dramatic last few minutes of the game before they sealed the deal.

    Japanese powerhouse Gamba Osaka were held 1-1 at home, continuing their miserable start to the campaign following a loss last week to Suwon Bluewings.

    And Henk ten Cate's Emirati Al Ahli side were humiliated 5-0 at home by Qatar's Al Sadd.


    Pohang regained their winning touch after captain Hwang Jae-Won put his side ahead in the 54th minute with a commanding header.

    But late in the game Sanfrecce defender Tomoaki Makino was brought down in the box with just one minute left.

    Bulgarian defender Ilian Stoyanov stepped up to convert the penalty but Sanfrecce lost concentration and Pohang struck back in injury time when Brazilian forward Almir prodded home a rebound from a Kim Jae-Sung free kick.

    Japan's Gamba Osaka came from behind to draw 1-1 with Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye at the Expo '70 Stadium.

    The result leaves the 2008 champions with just two points from two games after last week's loss, and is a disappointing effort from a team that was desperate to assert themselves after losing in the J-League over the weekend.

    Zhang Lu put the visitors ahead after four minutes when he proved quickest to react after goalkeeper Atsushi Kimura failed to gather a shot from Senegalese forward Amado Dialo.

    The scores were levelled when striker Lucas was hacked down in the penalty area, with the Brazilian dusting himself off to convert the spot kick 10 minutes before the break.

    Gamba came back fighting in the second half but the Chinese defence held solid.

    Bluewings victory

    ACL results

    Group C
     Pakhtakor 1-3 Al Shabab
     Sepahan 0-0 Al Ain

    Group D
     Al Hilal 3-1 Mes Kerman
     Al Ahli 0-5 Al Sadd

    Group G
     Singapore AF 0-2 Bluewings
     G Osaka 1-1 H Jianye

    Group H
     P Steelers 2-1 S Hiroshima
     S Luneng 0-2 Adelaide Utd

    In the other Group G match Korea's Suwon Bluewings overpowered a 10-man Singapore Armed Forces 2-0, with impressive goals from Brazilians Juninho and Jose Mota capping an accomplished display.

    Adelaide United secured an impressive 2-0 victory over Shandong Luneng, securing Group H top spot with a three-point gap over Shandong.

    Saudi giants Al Hilal moved three points clear at the top of Group D after beating Mes Kerman of Iran 3-0 in Riyadh.

    Hilal, who secured the 2009-10 Saudi league title in January, took a third-minute lead through Swedish international winger Christian Wilhelmsson.

    Defender Osama Hawsawi doubled their advantage in the 15th minute before Yasser Al Qahtani made the points safe for Eric Gerets' side in the 81st minute.

    Former Iran forward Ali Samereh scored an injury-time consolation for the visitors.

    Five-star Qataris

    Qatari side Al Sadd piled on the misery for Al Ahli in the group's other fixture with a 5-0 victory at the Al Rashid Stadium in Dubai.

    Al Ahli lost 4-2 at Mes Kerman in their opening group match and were well beaten by Al Sadd, for whom Brazilian striker Leandro netted a hat-trick.

    In-form Saudi outfit Al Shabab took charge of Group C by defeating previous leaders Pakhtakor 3-1 in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, with Angola international striker Flavio on target twice in the second half.

    In the other group game, Iranian giants Sepahan were held to a 0-0 draw in front of their home fans by UAE representatives Al Ain.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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