SAITAMA – Urawa Reds thrashed Thailand’s 10-man Muangthong United 4-1 for their first victory in the Asian Champions League in five years on Tuesday.
Goals from Yosuke Kashiwagi, Kunimitsu Sekiguchi and Genki Haraguchi and a Muangthong own goal sent Reds to their first points in Group F of Asia’s flagship club competition, which they won at Saitama Stadium six years ago.
The hapless visitors scored a consolation in the 90th minute through midfielder Dagno Siaka.
Urawa hosted its first Champions League game since the 2008 semifinals, where it was trounced 3-1 at home in the second leg by eventual champions Gamba Osaka.
Reds are off to a fast start in the J. League, having won their first two but were trounced 3-0 away by World Cup winner Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their ACL opener on Feb. 26.
Urawa didn’t waste much time asserting its dominance on the Thai League champions, Kashiwagi scoring his second goal of the year in the eighth minute.
From a left-wing Marcio Richardes corner, Kashiwagi struck a volley off the ground and over goalkeeper Weera Koedpudsa’s head to push Reds in front.
Mihailo Petrovic’s men caught a break they didn’t need in the 29th minute, when Muangthong defender Piyaphon Buntao was given his marching orders after drawing a second yellow card.
The game was all Reds from that point on. A ball intended as a cross by Sekiguchi, the winter signing from Vegalta Sendai who made his first start for Urawa, went straight into the net in the 64th minute to put the hosts up 2-0.
After 70 minutes, substitute Haraguchi headed home a Tadaaki Hirakawa cross to triple the lead before Muangthong made it 4-0 for Urawa with an own goal eight minutes later.
Reds’ next game in the ACL is April 3, when they welcome the K-League’s Jeonbuk Motors in a clash of two former Asian champions.
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