HONG KONG : Jeonbuk Motors kept alive their hopes of claiming top spot in Group H of the Asian Champions League on Thursday with a 3-2 win over Sydney FC while Kitchee’s Dejan Damjanovic extended his record as the competition’s all-time leading scorer.
Jeonbuk, title winners in 2006 and 2016, fell behind to a 40th-minute Adam Le Fondre header in Ho Chi Minh City against a Sydney side that had already been eliminated.
But second-half goals from Han Kyo-won, Stanislav Iljutcenko and Gustavo gave the South Korean club a healthy lead before Patrick Wood’s injury time consolation for Steve Corica’s side.
The win means Jeonbuk remain one point behind leaders Yokohama F Marinos, who sit on 12 points from five games after beating Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai 2-0.
Marcos Junior gave the Japanese club the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes before the interval and Shinnosuke Hatanaka confirmed the win with an 83rd-minute header.
Yokohama will take on Jeonbuk on Sunday with only the winners of each of the five groups in east Asia certain to advance to the last 16. They will be joined by the three runners-up with the best records.
Le Fondre put Sydney ahead five minutes from the end of a lacklustre first half when he steered Rhyan Grant’s cross beyond Lee Bum-soo but Jeonbuk came out revitalised after the interval.
Han levelled the scores with a clinical finish four minutes after the restart while Iljutcenko struck from close range with a quarter of the game remaining.
Gustavo netted from inside the six-yard box in the 78th minute before Wood claimed Sydney’s injury time consolation.
In Group J, Hong Kong’s Kitchee won 3-2 against Chiangrai United, with 40-year-old Damjanovic netting to extend his record as the tournament’s leading scorer.
Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul’s penalty in first-half injury time gave the Thais the lead but halftime substitute Alex Akande levelled 10 minutes after the restart.
Damjanovic headed in 20 minutes from time after an Akande flick had come back off the post to score his 41st goal in the competition, but Sarawut Inpaen equalised for Chiangrai nine minutes later.
However, Law Tsz-chun hit the winner from three yards out nine minutes from time to give Kitchee a win that moves them to within a point of leaders Vissel Kobe.
Kitchee and Kobe face off on Sunday in Group J, which features only three teams following the withdrawal of Shanghai Port days before the start of the tournament due to the COVID-19 restrictions put in place in their home city.