AFC Champions League Review: Thriller in Melbourne, CSL sides shine

Comebacks were the order of the day as matchday one continued in the AFC Champions League, although CSL sides avoided the drama.

Melbourne Victory winger Leroy George   -  Getty Images

Melbourne Victory battled back from behind three times to secure a 3-3 draw against Ulsan in the AFC Champions League, while Shanghai SIPG got their Group F campaign up and running with a 1-0 win at Kawasaki Frontale.

A sparse crowd at Melbourne's AAMI Park were given a match to savour as the Korean visitors saw each of their leads extinguished within three minutes.

Mislav Orsic opened the scoring with a dipping free-kick in the 24th minute, only for Leroy George to reply when Besart Berisha's shot was parried.

Orsic and George both went on to complete braces, with Austrian defender Richard Windbichler heading the away side's second in the 34th minute, before Victory counterpart Rhys Williams did likewise following Orsic's excellent curling second.

Oscar and Hulk turned out for Shanghai, but it was a more unheralded Brazilian who proved decisive in Tokyo, with Elkeson's 23rd-minute drive palmed into the corner by Frontale goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.

One of the Chinese Super League's marquee names, Anthony Modeste, set in motion an eight-minute flurry of goals from Tianjin Quanjian as they beat Kitchee 3-0 in Group E, where Jeonbuk Motors came from 2-0 down to beat Kashiwa Reysol 3-2 – veteran striker Lee Dong-gook brilliantly picking out the top corner to double his tally six minutes from time.

Last year's semi-finalists Persepolis cruised to a 3-0 win over Nasaf in Tehran, with striker Ali Alipour hitting a second-half double.

Baghdad Bounedjah was another forward to net twice in Group C as Al Sadd came from behind to beat Al Wasl 2-1 in Dubai.

Both matches in Group D ended all-square, with Al Rayyan captain Rodrigo Tabata experiencing an eventful outing in the 2-2 draw at home to Esteghlal – opening the scoring with an own goal, chipping in with an assist and a goal at the right end and being sent off before Ali Ghorbani levelled two minutes from time.

The match between the competition's past two runners up – Al Hilal and Al Ain – finished goalless.

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