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ACL Recap: Matchday 1 Roundup

The first round of matches in the 2018 AFC Champions League kicked off this week with all four K League teams hoping to get off to a good start. There were victories for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Bluewings, a respectable away draw for Ulsan Hyundai but Jeju United begin the group stages with defeat.
(Image via K League)


Melbourne Victory 3-3 Ulsan Hyundai


Tuesday's early kick off saw Ulsan Hyundai make the long trip to Melbourne, Australia. A real ding-dong battle which displayed both the good and the bad from Ulsan.

Orsic opened the scoring with a sublime free-kick and was generally awesome on set piece duty. However, too much dallying in defence continued to be Ulsan's downfall. Such issues are things the Horangi should be able to sort that out but it was disappointing to see Kim Dohoon's men give away goals more or less straight after getting their noses in front.  However, the game showed promising signs that last season's FA Cup winners may be a bit more exciting this year. Also, there should be a special mention for Toyoda who had a good debut.
(Dan Croydon)



Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-2 Kashiwa Reysol


Despite a winter of heavy investment, it was Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' 38 year-old talisman, Lee Dong-gook, that was required to spare the K League champions' blushes on Tuesday evening against J.League side Kashiwa Reysol.

Having found themselves 2-0 down by the halfway mark, two substitutions at the interval plus a shift in formation saw the North Jeolla club finally take control of proceedings after having previously put in one of their worst halves of football for a long while.

Substitute Lee Dong-gook would go on to contribute two goals, either side of a Kim Jin-su effort, to claim all three points from a very difficult position, leaving fans in a state of rapturous celebration.
(Matthew Binns)

You can read the full match recap here.



Sydney FC 0-2 Suwon Bluewings


Suwon begun their 2018 ACL campaign in style with a 2-0 win away at runaway A-League leaders and current Australian champions Sydney FC. A cagey first half saw Suwon control the game without really troubling Andrew Redmayne, in goal for Sydney FC.

But a more adventurous approach in the 2nd half saw Suwon take the lead they deserved when Dejan picked up the ball just outside the penalty area and unleashed a powerful and accurate shot into the bottom corner.

As Sydney pushed forward in search of an equaliser Suwon continued to exploit holes in the Sydney defence and had opportunities to further their lead before Dejan added a 2nd goal from the penalty spot after Brandon O’Neill had handled in the area.

Suwon should have perhaps scored more and such was their dominance in the game that they may be disappointed with only converting 2 of their chances. Nevertheless, they head into next week’s home game against Kashima Antlers full of confidence and they could take a huge step in securing their place in the knockout stages of the competition.
(Scott Whitelock)



Jeju United 0-1 Cerezo Osaka


Matchday 1 kicked off in Group G as Jeju United met the Emperors Cup champions Cerezo Osaka at the World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo.  While they controlled most of the match, points were not to be had, as Osaka snatched the winner in injury time to take all three points.  The result could complicate Jeju's chances of going to the knockout round, but if last year is of any indication, where they faced a similar fate, losing to Jiangsu Suning in the dying minutes but still going through to the last sixteen, hopes are high that they will turn the tables and get back on track when they face Buriram United in their next group match on February 21st.
(Branko Belan)


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