HIROSHIMA – Sanfrecce Hiroshima were brought back to earth with a thud on Wednesday as the J. League champions crashed to a 2-0 defeat at home to Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in their Group G opener in the Asian Champions League.
Back in the ACL for the first time since being eliminated in the group phase in 2010, Hiroshima came into the match in high spirits having claimed their first silverware of the year after beating Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 in the Japanese Super Cup on Saturday.
But Oleksandr Pyshur opened the scoring for 2012 ACL semifinalists Bunyodkor, the towering striker getting his head to defender Anvar Gafurov’s cross from the right to beat Hiroshima goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa on the stroke of halftime at Big Arch.
Any hopes of a comeback from Hiroshima were laid to rest when Fozil Musaev finished off a surging run to seal victory in the late stages.
Emperor’s Cup holders Kashiwa were in action away to China’s Guizhou Renhe in a later match in Group H.
J. League clubs got off to a less than stellar start on Tuesday as 2007 champions Urawa Reds lost 3-0 away to China’s Guangzhou Evergrande while Vegalta Sendai failed to mark their continental debut with a victory, having to settle for a 1-1 home draw with Thailand’s Buriram United.