HONG KONG (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande’s Ricardo Goulart scored four as the Chinese club fought back from two goals down to beat South Korea’s Jeju United 5-3 on Tuesday, their first victory of this year’s Asian Champions League.
Jin Sung-wook and Magno Cruz gave Jeju United a two-goal lead at Tianhe Stadium but Alan Carvalho netted deep into first-half stoppage time before Goulart almost single-handedly secured the win that moved Fabio Cannavaro’s side top of Group G at the halfway point.
“It seems that our players don’t wake up until they’ve been punched once or twice,” said Cannavaro.
“We can’t always be losing 0-2 and then start to get ourselves together. It’s not because the players are not focused and I don’t know why every shot from our opponents became a goal.”
Carvalho’s goal in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time sparked the revival, with Goulart levelling the scores seven minutes after the restart.
The Brazilian converted a penalty five minutes later and completed his hat-trick four minutes from fulltime.
He saved his best until last, however, when his audacious chip from just inside the area looped over goalkeeper Lee Chang-guen in injury time, leaving Lee Chang-min’s long-range strike as little more than a consolation for the visitors.
Guangzhou have five points from their first three games and moved ahead of Japan’s Cerezo Osaka, who were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by Thailand’s Buriram United in the other game in the group on Tuesday.
In Group E, Kim Shin-wook’s physical presence was too much for Tianjin Quanjian to handle as twice champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors thrashed Paulo Sousa’s Chinese Super League side 6-3.
The towering South Korea striker scored a hat-trick as Jeonbuk fought back after Tianjin’s Zhang Cheng scored after 10 minutes.
Han Gyo-won, Ricardo Lopes and Choi Bo-kyung also found the net for Choi Kang-hee’s team.
Zhao Xuri and Alexandre Pato restored some pride for Tianjin in the final 11 minutes as Jeonbuk, who top the group with maximum points, scored six for the second game in a row.
Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli lost their perfect record when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Qatar’s Al Gharafa, but they remain three points clear of Al Jazira at the top of Group A after the club from the United Arab Emirates were held to a 0-0 draw by Iran’s Tractorsazi.
Qatar’s Al Sadd lost 1-0 to Nasaf Qarshi from Uzbekistan in Group C, leaving a three-way tie at the summit after Persepolis joined the pair on two wins after securing a 2-0 win over Al Wasl of the UAE.
Editing by Toby Davis