Melbourne snag Teda draw

Tianjin Teda maintain top spot in Group E of the Asian Champions League after sharing the spoils with Melbourne Victory.

    South Korea's Jeju powered past Gamba Osaka 2-1 to move to second in Group E [AFP]

    Kevin Muscat earned a much-needed second-half equaliser to keep Melbourne Victory's Asian Champions League hopes alive on Tuesday as the A-League side recorded 1-1 draw at China's Tianjin Teda.

    Meanwhile in Group G Cerezo Osaka downed former champions Jeonbuk Motors and South Korea's Jeju United climbed to second in Group E after they came from behind to beat Japan's Gamba Osaka 2-1 in a victory sealed by Ki Jong Bae on 64 minutes.

    A last-gasp penalty earned Arema Indonesia a surprise first point against Shandong Luneng.

    Aussie hopes

    Serbian defender Marko Zoric had put Tianjin Teda ahead in the 19th minute, but was sent off in the 75th for a rough tackle.

    Muscat's glancing header on 52 minutes earned Victory an away draw in their first game under caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic after Ernie Merrick's sacking last month.

    Defender Muscat, 37, is enjoying a last hurrah in the Asian competition after announcing his retirement in February, when an eight-match ban for a trademark dangerous tackle brought his domestic season to an early end.

    Tianjin remain in first place in the group with seven points, one ahead of Jeju. Melbourne are in last place with one point after losing their two opening matches.

    Results & fixtures

    Tuesday April 5

    Group A
    Sepahan 2-0 Al Gharafa
    Al Hilal 3-1 Al Jazira
    Group B
    Al Sadd 1-0 Al Nassr
    Group C
    Bunyodkor 0-0 Piroozi
    Al Wahda 0-3 Al Ittihad
    Group E
    Jeju 2-1 Gamba Osaka 
    Tianjin Teda 1-1 Melbourne
    Group G
    Arema 1-1 Shandong Luneng Cerezo Osaka 1-0 Jeonbuk

    Wednesday April 6

    Group B
    Esteghlal v Pakhtakor
    Group D
    Al Rayyan v Zobahan
    Al Shaban v Emirates
    Group F
    Nagoya Grampus v Seoul
    Hangzhou v Al Ain
    Group H
    Suwon v Kashima Antlers
    Sydney FC v Shanghai

    Japan international Takashi Inui scored in the 53rd minute to give Cerezo Osaka a 1-0 win over Jeonbuk Motors, handing the South Korean side their first loss in Group G.

    Cerezo had not played since losing 2-0 away to China's Shandong Luneng on March 16. They were the first J-League club to play an official match in Japan since the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the country's northeast that killed up to 25,000 people.

    "There were a lot of fouls and it was not a pretty game at times but we got the result,'' Cerezo Osaka coach Levir Culpi said.

    "It's an important win for us.''

    Inui scored when he collected a backheel pass from Rodrigo Pimpao and beat Jeonbuk goalkeeper Kim Min-sik.

    "Pimpao gave me a good ball and I am glad I was able to keep my head and put it away,'' Inui said.

    "In the end we were able to play our game and got the result and that will set us up nicely for the next match.''

    The match was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of those killed and injured in the earthquake.

    Mochamad Fakhrudin converted a late penalty to hand Arema a 1-1 draw with China's Shandong Luneng in Malang, boosting their hopes after two earlier defeats.

    Brazilian striker Obina opened the scoring early at Kanjuruhan Stadium, and Shandong looked to have secured three away points until the Indonesian champions came storming back in the closing stages.

    Thirty-two teams play home and away in eight groups to qualify for the knock-out stages. The event has become dominated by East Asian teams with no West Asian winners since Al Ittihad completed back-to-back wins in 2005.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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