HONG KONG (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande coach Fabio Cannavaro endured frustration for a second week in a row as his side were held 0-0 by Japan’s Cerezo Osaka as the two-times champions drew again in the Asian Champions League.
Neither side could find the back of the net in a tense encounter. It means the Italian World Cup winner has yet to steer his team to a win since returning to the club ahead of the new Chinese Super League (CSL) season.
“We prepared very carefully for this game and the team showed outstanding spirit,” said Cannavaro.
“What matters most is that we created so many opportunities, but we only have two points.”
Guangzhou struggled with a lack of fluency and it was Cerezo who looked the more likely to take all three points with a strong finish inspired by substitute Yoichiro Kakitani.
But the seven-times CSL champions did enough to take a point which leaves them in third place in Group G, two points adrift of leaders Cerezo and one behind South Korea’s Jeju United, who handed Buriram United a 2-0 defeat in Thailand.
Japan’s Kashima Antlers impressed in their 2-1 win over Suwon Bluewings in which Dejan Damjanovic missed a penalty for the South Korean side. Mu Kanazaki claimed both of the goals to put the J League club top of Group H.
Sydney FC, meanwhile, rebounded from their disappointing opening day performance against Suwon to claim a 2-2 draw with Shanghai Shenhua, although Graham Arnold’s side remain bottom of the group.
“It was a much better performance today compared to the first game,” said Alex Brosque, who scored Sydney’s second and also hit the crossbar in the first half.
“We played a lot better and we moved the ball around a lot more and we had more of the chances. On another night I think we get four or five but it was just that goal was missing.”
Al Hilal sacked head coach Ramon Diaz after the Argentine’s side lost 1-0 to Iran’s Esteghlal in Group D.
Diaz led the Saudi Arabian team to the final of last year’s tournament in November where they lost to Urawa Reds. However, Abdullah Al Hafith’s own goal just after the restart gave the side from Tehran all three points to leave Al Hilal bottom.
Esteghlal are top of the group with four points, one more than Qatar’s Al Rayyan and Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates, who shared a 1-1 draw.
Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice as Al Sadd of Qatar moved to the top of Group C with a perfect record as they downed last year’s semi-finalists, Persepolis of Iran, 3-1. Uzbekistan’s Nasaf Qarshi secured their first win of the campaign with a 1-0 victory over Al Wasl from the UAE.
Editing by Christian Radnedge