Osaka (Japan) (AFP) – Former Chelsea midfielder Ramires scored the goal that kept China’s big-spending Jiangsu Suning on top of their AFC Champions League group with a 1-0 win at Japan’s Gamba Osaka on Wednesday.
The Brazilian midfielder, who cost Jiangsu 28 million euros from the London club in January 2016, struck a gorgeous finish with his left foot from 20 yards six minutes before half-time.
Gamba threw everything forward in the second half as they went in search of an equaliser, but it was Jiangsu who went closest to another goal with some lightning counter-attacking led by man-of-the-match Ramires, and countryman Alex Teixeira, who cost 50 million euros from Shakhtar Donetsk just over a year ago.
The result leaves Jiangsu sitting pretty five points clear at the top of Group H with a perfect three wins from three outings.
Adelaide United got their first point of the campaign after coming from behind twice in a pulsating 3-3 draw at home to Korea’s Jeju United in the other Group H match.
A goalless first half gave no clue to the fireworks that were to unfold after half-time as the match transformed from bore draw into a six-goal thriller.
The South Australian side took the lead when Papa Diawara stroked home a 51st minute penalty.
Jeju hit back 10 minutes later through their giant striker Frederic Mendy and led when Brazilian Marcelo Toscano thumped home an unstoppable right-foot piledriver on 71 minutes.
Adelaide pulled it back to 2-2 less than two minutes later through Sergio Cirio’s header to set up a frantic finale.
Kwon Soon-Hyung fired Jeju 3-2 ahead with six minutes remaining only for never-say-die Adelaide to equalise within 60 seconds of the restart.
Jordan O’Doherty saw a terrific curling effort strike the post but the home side’s Korean import, Kim Jae-Sung, kept his cool to collect the rebound and deliver a delightful back-heeled pass for Mark Ochieng to bury.
Former Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers had lost both of their opening Group F games but they stunned FC Seoul 3-2 in the Korean capital.
Goals from inside the box by Lachlan Scott, Terry Antonis from the penalty spot and a long-range Jaushua Sotirio effort put the 2014 AFC Champions into a shock 3-0 lead with just over an hour played.
Yun Il-Lok gave the fans at the World Cup Stadium hope with a tight-angled finish on 66 minutes and when he got his second six minutes later an unlikely comeback was on. But Wanderers managed to hold firm to take the three points.