Melbourne Victory’s 2011 AFC Champions League campaign got off to the worst possible start as they slumped to a 5-1 loss at Gamba Osaka.
The Victory found themselves a goal down after just four minutes on Tuesday in Osaka when a corner from Japanese international Yasuhito Endo broke for Takuya Takei, who lashed home a fantastic shot from outside the box.
It was 2-0 three minutes later when Brazilian striker Adriano coolly slotted home a penalty after Kevin Muscat brought down Lee Keun-Ho, and after 11 minutes the Japanese side had all but killed off the contest when Lee poked the ball past Victory goalkeeper Michael Petkovic to make it 3-0.
Veteran Muscat pulled a goal back from the penalty spot to breathe some life into the Group E clash, but second-half goals from Takahiro Futagawa and substitute Kim Seung-yong completed the rout.
In Group E’s other match, Chinese Super League runners-up Tianjin Teda had a goal from Yu Dabao 10 minutes after half-time to thank for their 1-0 win over K-League runners-up Jeju United.
In Group F, Chinese outfit Hangzhou Lucheng pulled off a surprise with a 2-0 win over J-League champions Nagoya Grampus.
A goal from Argentinean striker Luis Ramirez on the hour mark and another from Bali Maimaitiyili just before full-time were enough to secure all three points for the Chinese side.
Draws were the order of the day in Group B, with Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Saudi Arabians Al Nasr.
Sherzod Karimov opened the scoring just before half-time at the Paxtakor Markaziy Stadion with a left-foot chip from outside the area, but Bader Al Mutwa levelled proceedings five minutes after the break.
Karimov scored his second to restore the Uzbek’s advantage, but Saad Al Harthi bobbed up in the 89th minute to snatch a late equaliser for the visitors.
Group B’s other match saw Iranians Esteghlal play out a 1-1 draw with Qatar Al Saad, after Brazilian striker Leandro scored an 87th-minute goal to cancel out Farhad Majidi’s opener.
In Group A, the United Arab Emirates’ Al Jazira played out a goalless draw with Qatar champions Al Gharafa.