Wang strikes to earn Beijing victory over Thai champs Chiangrai

By Michael Church
2019 EAFF E-1 Football Championship - Hong Kong v China

By Michael Church

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Beijing Guoan showed few signs of rustiness after their Coronavirus-affected start to the Asian Champions League on Tuesday evening, as the Chinese Super League side handed Thailand's Chiangrai United a 1-0 defeat.

Wang Ziming scored midway through the first half to secure all three points for Beijing in the Group E meeting as Bruno Genesio's side kicked off their continental campaign a week later than scheduled due to the outbreak that has hit mainland China.

Beijing travelled to face the Thai champions after spending much of their pre-season in South Korea. But they will not feature again in the Asian Champions League until April due to further postponements linked with the spread of the disease.

"It was a really tough game. We created a lot of chances but we only scored once," said Wang.

"This is our first game and we were not in very good condition, but I think the best thing is that we won."

The win means Beijing join FC Seoul and Melbourne Victory on three points in the early standings in Group E after the South Koreans secured a 1-0 win over the Australian side courtesy of a solitary strike from veteran forward Park Chu-young.

Japan's FC Tokyo, meanwhile, picked up their first win in the competition thanks to Leandro's late goal against Australian debutants Perth Glory in Group F.

The Brazilian's curling effort from distance eight minutes before the end gave Kenta Hasegawa's side three points to go with the single point earning in their draw with Ulsan Hyundai last week.

In the west of the continent, defending champions Al Hilal picked up their second win in a row as a brace from Bafetimbi Gomis earned a 2-1 victory over Shabab Al Ahli from the United Arab Emirates.

That means the club from Saudi Arabia sit on top of Group B with six points alongside Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor, who picked up a 3-0 win over Iranian side Shahr Khodro.

Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli had two goals from Salman Al Moasher to thank for their 2-1 success against Iranian side Esteghlal to move on to four points at the top of Group A, where they are joined by Al Wahda from the UAE after their 1-0 win over Iraq's Al Shorta.


(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Hugh Lawson)