Chinese teams win Asian Champions League openers

08:50, March 03, 2011      

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Hangzhou Greentown players celebrate after Honduran striker Luis Ramirez (9) scores a goal against Nagoya Grampus of J-League during their AFC Champions League soccer match at the Yellow Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province, March 1, 2011. (Photo/titan 24.com)

Chinese teams enjoyed a great night in the opening round of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night, as Hangzhou Greentown shocked Nagoya Grampus and Tianjin Teda battled past Jeju United.

Hangzhou Greentown coach Wu Jingui credited his team's superior stamina and low-key profile for their surprise 2-0 win over J-League champions Nagoya Grampus at their debut game in the tournament.

The Chinese team scored their Group F victory with second-half goals from Honduran striker Luis Ramirez and substitute Ba Li at home in the Yellow Dragon Stadium of Hangzhou.

"They were tired and they didn't know much about us," said Wu. "Chinese players are physically stronger than other East Asian rivals. And I always encouraged my players to give full play to our physical strength and height."

Chinese Super League runners-up Tianjin Teda were also celebrating on Tuesday after they claimed a 1-0 away win over South Korean side Jeju United with Yu Dabao's second-half strike at a windy Jeju World Cup Stadium in the 2011 tournament's opening match.

Tianjin coach Arie Haan hailed his team's victory as a significant result for Chinese football that lost all nine of their meetings against K-League opposition last year.

"The ability of Chinese teams has improved a lot and I hope that this result helps to show that," Tianjin coach Arie Haan told reporters.

The Koreans controlled the Group E match for long periods but without Asian Cup top scorer Koo Ja-cheol, who moved to German side VfL Wolfsburg recently, they struggled in front of goal.

Lee Sang-hyub hit the crossbar in stoppage time but Jeju could not find an equaliser for Yu Dabao's 55th minute effort.

Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal were also victims of a surprise opening day defeat when they lost 2-1 at home to Iranians Sepahan in Group A.

The night's biggest winners were 2008 champions Gamba Osaka, who thrashed Melbourne Victory 5-1 after some woeful defending from the Australians saw them go 3-0 down after just 11 minutes.

Source:Agencies/chinadaily.com.cn

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