Brazilian goal-machine Adriano made it seven goals in just two Asia Champions League games on Tuesday as FC Seoul destroyed Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4-1 to take a firm grip on Group F.
Adriano, who smashed four in last week’s 6-0 demolition of Buriram United, plundered another hat-trick as the Korean FA Cup-holders roared back from a goal down.
After Kazuhiko Chiba’s opener for Hiroshima, Kim Won-sik equalised for the hosts just after the half-hour, before Adriano grabbed his treble in 20 second-half minutes.
The Brazilian put Seoul ahead in the 49th minute when he let a free kick drop over his shoulder and delicately steered a sumptuous volley into the Hiroshima goal.
He showed his predatory instincts with a determined run and near-post finish on 55 minutes, and completed his hat-trick after another flowing team move in the 69th.
After a ball across the box from Spanish defender Osmar Barba, Sin Jin-ho’s back-heel found the onrushing Adriano and the free-scoring forward swept home Seoul’s fourth.
Adriano remained a danger in the final minutes and former Arsenal forward Park Chu-young also came close with a free kick which curled just wide.
After two games, FC Seoul top the nascent Group F on maximum points, level on points with China’s Shandong Luneng, who beat Thai outfit Buriram 3-0 courtesy of Diego Tardelli, Jucilei, the former Al Jazira midfielder, and Zhao Mingjian goals.
Alex Teixeira scored and Ramires was sent off for Jiangsu Suning as the big-spending Chinese club beat Jeonbuk Motors 3-2 in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday.
Teixeira, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in February, scored in the first half with a low shot from outside the area.
Second-half strikes from former Everton and Manchester City striker Jo and Xu Li restored the host’s advantage after Lee Dong-gook brought Jeonbuk level. Jiangsu also scored an own-goal late in the match.
Ramires, bought last month from Premier League champions Chelsea, was sent off for a push in injury time.
Jiangsu moved to the top of Group E with four points from two games. FC Tokyo are level on points with Jeonbuk after beating Binh Duong 3-1 at home.
Guangzhou Evergrande may be one of the biggest spending clubs in the world but coach Luis Felipe Scolari scoffed at the idea they should be expected to waltz into the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.
The Chinese champions, who splashed out US$45 million (Dh165.2m) on Colombian striker Jackson Martinez last month, on Wednesday meet Sydney FC, who are obliged to stay under a salary cap of around $3 million a season for their entire squad.
World Cup-winning coach Scolari, whose squad also includes Brazil internationals Paulinho and Ricardo Goulart, bristled when asked whether it remained a fair contest despite the clear disparity in finances.
“We will discover the difference between the two teams after we play the match and see the result,” Scolari, shaking his head, told reporters at the Sydney Football Ground.
“There are no easy matches in the group stage of the Asian Champions League, we are at the start of the season and after our first match we are improving physically and mentally.
“Only two teams will go through so we will do our best to get a good result.”
In stark contrast to Scolari, Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold was more than happy to talk about the different resources available to the two men, and claim underdog status.
“What they paid for Martinez would fund the whole league and the whole code in this country. They flew in on two private jets, we fly economy,” said the Australian, whose side lost their ACL opener 2-0 to Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan last week.
“They’re attracting big players and spending a lot of money but we will not be intimidated by them.
“They’ve got three very good foreigners, but the rest are Chinese players and we’ve shown at national level that we’re very good against the Chinese national team.
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