HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Big-spending Bunyodkor opened its Asian Champions League campaign with a 2-0 away win over Japanese Super Cup winner Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday.
The Tashkent-based Bunyodkor opened the scoring via Oleksandr Pyshur's header just before halftime and made sure with Fozil Musaev's strike in the 86th-minute.
In the other Group G match, the 2009 Asian champion Pohang Steelers were held to 0-0 by Beijing Guoan.
Both teams had chances, with Guoan midfielder Joffre Guerron's strike hitting the crossbar just after the hour and Beijing skipper Xu Yunlong clearing Hwang Jin-sung's header off the line in the last 10 minutes.
In Group H, Cleo scored in the 45th minute as Japan's Kashiwa Reysol beat China's Guizhou Renhe 1-0, and Jung Sung-ryong made two important saves, including a late penalty, as Suwon Bluewings held Australia's Central Coast Mariners to 0-0 at Gosford.
Jung pushed away midfielder Nick Montgomery's shot from the spot in the dying minutes after Kwak Kwang-sun was penalized for blatant handball in the 87th. Jung had earlier kept the K-League club in the game when he stopped a close-range shot from Mitchell Duke in the 63rd.
In Group D, United Arab Emirates side Al Ain came from a goal down to beat 10-man Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia 3-1.
Abdulla al-Dosary gave the Saudi visitors the lead after nine minutes but Omar Abdulrahman leveled with a volley in the 27th and Australian striker Alex Brosque put the UAE champions ahead just after halftime. Al Hilal had Salem al-Dawsari sent off in the 55th minute for denying Brosque a goal-scoring opportunity. Midel Radoi missed the resulting penalty but substitute Asamoah Gyan sealed the win with a powerful shot into the top right corner in stoppage time.
The other Group D match was a rollercoaster affair, with Brazilian striker Nilmar scoring a late equalizer as Qatari side Al Rayyan earned a 3-3 draw with Esteghlal of Iran. The Qatari side came from behind three times in the match.
Esteghlal, which reached the round of 16 last year, took the lead in the 27th when Mojtaba Jabari beat the offside trap on the right flank and squared the ball for Samuel who fire a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Oumar Barry. But Al Rayyan drew level three minutes later, when Rodrigo Tabata scored a penalty after a handball by Hanif Omranzadeh.
Esteghlal restored its lead after a long ball from Jlloyd Samuel found Borhani who fired a right-footed shot into the roof of the net. Al Rayyan again equalized when Tabata's free-kick from 30 meters took a deflection off defender Omranzadeh on its way into the net.
Esteghlal looked to have sealed victory when it was awareded an 86th minute penalty — after Hamid Ismaeil fouled Farzad Hatami in the area. Nekounam converted, only for Nilmar to scored the final equalizer.
In Group C, Iranian champions Sepahan beat Nasr of the United Arab Emirates 3-0, led by a brace from Albanian striker Xhevahir Sukaj.
Sukaj opened the scoring in the 22nd when he outjumped defender Ahmed Ali to head home a ball from Mohammad Reza Khalatbari. Sukaj scored his second nine minutes from time, taking a low cross from Khalatbari and scoring from close range. Omid Ebrahami added a third with four minutes remaining to seal a deserved victory for the home side after a dominant performance.
Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia was a 2-0 winner over Al Gharafa of Qatar in the other Group C match.
The 2012 runners-up took the lead through a fine solo effort in the 35th minute by Mustafa al-Bassas, who surged past three players before firing a powerful shot that went in off the right post. Brazilian Victor Simoes doubled the lead in stoppage time, collecting a low cross from Motaz al-Mosa and scoring from close range.