SAITAMA – Urawa Reds swept aside FC Seoul in emphatic fashion in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night, exacting revenge for their defeat in the round of 16 last year with a thumping 5-2 win to make it maximum points from two games in Group F.
But Japanese champion and Club World Cup finalist Kashima Antlers suffered a shock 2-1 defeat away to Thailand’s Muangthong United in Group E.
Reds picked up where they left off after a 4-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers on the road last week, taking a 2-0 lead through goals from Yuki Muto and Tadanari Lee after 11 minutes at Saitama Stadium.
Seoul reduced the arrears through Park Chu-young, but further goals from Takahiro Sekine, Tomoya Ugajin and Yoshiaki Komai put Reds out of sight before halftime.
Dejan Damjanovic scored Seoul’s second in the dying seconds of the match.
Komai’s goal was his first for Reds in a competitive match and made up in part for missing a penalty in last year’s shootout.
“We are simply happy to get the three points,” said Komai. “It (last year’s defeat) was in the back of my mind so to score against the same opponents and help the team win makes me really happy.
“It (my first goal) has taken ages to come but hopefully I can keep scoring and keep contributing to the team.”
Urawa manager Mihailo Petrovic said, “I think we can say it was a very good result and performance. We won’t necessarily be able to win by such big margins in the future and have to keep our socks pulled up and prepare for our next match.”
Urawa, knocked out by Seoul 7-6 on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw last year, grabbed the lead in the ninth minute, Shinzo Koroki sending over a cross from the right for an unmarked Muto to guide a downward header past Seoul keeper Yoo Hyun.
The home side doubled its advantage when Lee, also on target against Western Sydney, collected Sekine’s pass and buried a left-footed shot into the top corner.
The South Koreans hit back immediately after the restart through a superb free kick from Park, only for Reds to restore their two-goal cushion when Sekine netted with a shot that Yoo really ought to have dealt with.
Ugajin made it 4-1 with a volley after Lee’s effort deflected off defender Osmar Barba before Lee set up Komai to drill home the fifth.
Ugajin nearly bagged his second of the night with a shot that rattled the crossbar two minutes after the break and substitute Rafael Silva also went close before Damjanovic lashed home in the 92nd minute.
“We panicked a bit after conceding and the tide went in our opponents’ favor,” said Seoul coach Hwang Sun-hong, whose team suffered a second straight loss after going down 1-0 last week at home to Shanghai SIPG.
Shanghai, like Urawa, has six points from two games after walloping Western Sydney 5-1.
In Thailand, Theeraton Bunmathan gave Muangthong the lead in the 12th minute and although Pedro Junior leveled for Kashima, Xisco snatched victory in the 95th minute. Antlers have three points from two games and Muangthong have four.
Wednesday’s games involving Japanese clubs see 2008 ACL champions Gamba Osaka host South Korea’s Jeju United in Group H, while Kawasaki Frontale visit Hong Kong’s Eastern SG in Group G.
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