Bunyodkor provide first major upset

Uzbek underdogs Bunyodkor shock Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Asian Champions League group round as goals dry up.

    Bunyodkor striker Oleksandr Pyshur (2nd L) is congratulated by teammates after putting team ahead [AFP]
    Bunyodkor striker Oleksandr Pyshur (2nd L) is congratulated by teammates after putting team ahead [AFP]

    Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor provided the biggest upset of this year's fledgling AFC Champions League when they shocked J-League title-holders Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 away on Wednesday.

    Despite last year's run to the semi-finals the Uzbek cup-winners were considered underdogs against the Japanese champions, but a late goal in each half made them worthy winners in Hiroshima.

    Oleksandr Pyshur struck on the stroke of half-time to put the visitors ahead but it wasn't until the 86th minute that Bunyodkor could be sure of the win, when Fozil Musaev doubled their advantage.

    The victory extends Bunyodkor's fine form in the Asian competition after they overturned three former champions last year before being halted by eventual winners Ulsan Hyundai in the last four.

    Elsewhere on day two, Kashiwa Reysol registered the first Japanese win when ex-Guangzhou Evergrande striker Cleo, returning to China to face Guizhou Renhe, was on target in the first half to secure a 1-0 victory.

    Goal feast to famine

    As Tuesday's flood of goals quickly dried up, 2009 winners Pohang Steelers were held 0-0 by Beijing Guoan and Australia's Central Coast Mariners and Suwon Bluewings also finished goalless.

    In a frantic finish in Pohang, Beijing midfielder Joffre Guerron fired against the crossbar. For the Steelers, Kim Won-Il missed a golden chance and Hwang Jin-Sung twice went close with headers, but nobody could break the deadlock.

    Earlier the Mariners, Australia's only team in the competition, looked sure to secure all the points at their home ground in Gosford when Kwak Kwang-Seon handled inside the box in the final minutes.

    However, Nick Montgomery's effort was saved, leaving it all square after the Mariners failed to capitalise on a number of chances against the 2011 semi-finalists.

    The pan-Asian league, now entering its second decade, features 32 teams from 10 different countries. The group phase ends in early May but the two-legged final will not take place until November.

    Among Wednesday's later matches, Iran's Sepahan play Al Nasr of the UAE and fellow Emirati side Al Ain, who won the inaugural competition in 2003, are against Saudi team Al Hilal.

    SOURCE: AFP


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