Seoul (AFP) – Veteran goal machine Lee Dong-gook rolled back the years on Wednesday as two-time AFC Champions League title winners Jeonbuk Motors got their 2019 campaign off to a winning start with a 3-1 home victory over Beijing Guoan.
In the other Group G clash another two-time Asian champions, Urawa Red Diamonds, also began with a comfortable win, 3-0 at home to Thailand’s Buriram United, courtesy of second-half goals from Tomoaki Makino and a double from Daiki Hashioka.
In South Korea the 39-year-old Lee scored his side’s second goal and set up the third in a vintage display at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
The 2006 and 2016 Asian champions went ahead in the 14th minute when Han Kyo-won took advantage of some sloppy defending by Beijing’s new signing from Jeonbuk, Kim Min-jae, to open the scoring.
Kim, who turned down a winter transfer window move to English Premier League team Watford, was guilty of ball-watching as Han turned in front of him and fired past keeper Zou Dehai.
Beijing equalised four minutes before half-time via Zhang Xizhe’s smart finish from 12 yards.
But Jeonbuk went back in front three minutes after half-time when more shoddy defending enabled Lee to pounce and extend his record as the all-time AFC Champions League goalscorer to 37 goals.
The ageless Lee with a little more luck could have bagged a quick-fire hat-trick.
First Lee’s bullet header just before the hour was clawed out by Zou and three minutes later his curling left-foot shot cannoned off the crossbar.
Lee instead turned provider in the 71st minute, his pinpoint cross enabling Kim Shin-wook to head home powerfully to seal the victory.
In the opening match of Group H, Sydney FC and 2012 champions Ulsan played out a windswept goalless draw at Kogarah Oval.
Sydney’s dangerous former Bolton Wanderers frontman Adam Le Fondre enjoyed the best of the chances, hooking one over the bar, glancing a header wide and seeing an audacious chip sail just past the post.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Where to find Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville on US TV
- Ronaldo wants to leave Man United – reports
- Kylian Mbappé can shock the world again at World Cup 2022
- What is the best soccer stadium in the world?
- Where to find Santos vs. Flamengo on US TV
- Where to find Fluminense vs. Corinthians on US TV
- Romelu Lukaku homecoming provides opportunity at Inter Milan
- Wimbledon, Tour, cricket and rugby find Covid still in the air
- Maldini signs new two-year director deal with AC Milan
- Sampaoli leaves Marseille amid differences with club bosses