TOKYO (Reuters) - Teenage wingback Daiki Hashioka scored twice in the final 15 minutes as Urawa Red Diamonds beat Buriram United 3-0 to make a winning start to their Asian Champions League campaign on Wednesday.
J-League side Urawa, making their first appearance in the competition since claiming the second of their two continental titles in 2017, laboured against the Thai champions before eventually prevailing.
Buriram hit the woodwork either side of Tomoaki Makino’s opener for Urawa, with the Japan defender stooping to head home Yosuke Kashiwagi’s corner five minutes after the interval.
Hashioka added Urawa’s second with 15 minutes remaining when he netted on the rebound following Kazuki Nagasawa’s shot. The 19-year-old then wrapped up the win in the 88th minute when he met Koya Yuruki’s inviting cross from the left.
“We needed to be very patient and resist our opponent’s attacks,” said Urawa coach Oswaldo Oliveira.
“Even when we had the ball we had to be very patient and try long balls in the back, but I always say set plays are a good chance to get a goal.
“At home we will always have more set pieces and we were able to take advantage of those today.”
Victory puts Urawa top of Group G alongside Jeonbuk Motors, who handed Chinese Super League side Beijing FC a 3-1 defeat in South Korea.
Veteran striker Lee Dong-gook was among the scorers for the two-time winners, taking his career tally in the competition to a record-breaking 37 goals.
Shanghai SIPG had striker Hulk to thank for their 1-0 win over Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale, with the Brazilian scoring from the penalty spot in the final minute to secure all three points for the CSL side in their Group H meeting.
That win sees Vitor Pereira’s side claim pole position in the standings after Sydney FC and Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea shared a 0-0 draw earlier in the day.
In the west, Iran’s Persepolis, who lost in last year’s final to Kashima Antlers, fought back to draw 1-1 with Pakhtakor from Uzbekistan in Group D. Both clubs trail Al Ahli in the table after Omar Al Somah’s double earned the Saudi Arabian side a 2-0 win over Al Sadd from Qatar.
Jose Mourinho’s former assistant Rui Faria notched up his first win in the competition as Al Duhail coach when the Qataris thumped Iranians Esteghlal 3-0 in their opening Group C fixture. The Doha-based club share top spot in the standings with Al Hilal.
Veteran midfielder Mohammed Shalhoub scored the only goal for the Saudis as they won 1-0 over former champions Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge