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Champions League solace for under-fire Cannavaro

Hong Kong (AFP) – Fabio Cannavaro put his troubles with China’s national team to one side as he led Guangzhou Evergrande to a crushing 4-0 win over Melbourne Victory in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

The Italian great has come under heavy fire for a lacklustre start as China coach, but it was a different story as he resumed club duties with the seven-time Chinese champions.

Brazilian forward Anderson Talisca’s early double made it a straightforward evening for Evergrande, who top Group F on goal difference as they seek a third Asian title.

Elsewhere in the same group, Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Daegu FC 2-0 to leave both teams locked with Evergrande on six points at the halfway point.

In Group H, Brazilian striker Elkeson snatched an 89th-minute equaliser as star-studded Shanghai SIPG shared the spoils in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Sydney FC.

But South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai went top of the group when Kim Su-an’s injury-time winner grabbed a 1-0 victory over Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale.

Evergrande gave Victory no time to settle at Tianhe Stadium as Talisca first slammed a free kick against the bar and then nodded the opener on six minutes, celebrating with a victory jig.

Four minutes later and the bleach-blond Brazilian lifted a curling strike into the top left, before Yang Liyu’s goal on the counter put Evergrande firmly in control at 3-0 up at half-time.

Cannavaro allowed himself a smile at Evergrande’s fourth, a Leigh Broxham own goal which ricocheted in off the defender after Gao Lin’s shot was parried by the goalkeeper.

In Sydney, the hosts more than held their own against big-spending Chinese champions SIPG, spearheaded by Brazil internationals Oscar and Hulk.

The home team grabbed the lead three times and looked headed for their first win of the tournament when Alex Brosque tapped in to make it 3-2 with six minutes left.

But Shanghai never gave up and Elkeson linked up with former Chelsea midfielder Oscar late in the game to ruin their night.

It leaves Shanghai with four points after a win, a loss and a draw in their opening three Group H games, and plenty of work still ahead to qualify.

Seasoned Asian campaigners Sydney remain anchored to the bottom of the group on three points.

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