SUITA, OSAKA PREF. – Gamba Osaka suffered their first defeat in Group H in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday night as the 2008 champions were smashed 4-1 at home by South Korea’s Jeju United.
An own goal from Gamba captain Yasuhito Endo gifted Jeju the lead after 43 minutes at Suita Stadium and Lee Chang-min struck the second on the stroke of halftime. Marcelo Toscano added a third early in the second period before man of the match Lee completed his brace with a sensational fourth 18 minutes from time.
Ademilson converted a late penalty for Gamba but it proved scant consolation.
Gamba, who kicked off their campaign with a 3-0 win away to Adelaide United last week, and Jeju both have three points. Jeju opened with a 1-0 loss at home to China’s Jiangsu.
Gamba got an early scare when Lee saw a shot deflected off the post after five minutes. Toscano then had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out, with referee Ammar Al Jeneibi blowing for a foul on Endo.
Ahn Hyun-beom scuffed a great chance wide on the quarter hour mark, and Gamba keeper Masaaki Higashiguchi produced a fabulous save to somehow claw away Kim Won-il’s close range header on 40 minutes.
But the South Koreans deservedly, albeit fortuitously, broke the deadlock when Endo’s header diverted Chung Woon’s free kick past Higashiguchi.
Gamba were still reeling from that blow when Jeju extended its lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.
Genta Miura could only half clear Ahn’s shot and Lee snapped up the loose ball to drive into the bottom left corner.
Gamba were booed off by their own fans at halftime and their misery was compounded when the visitors made it 3-0 in the 51st minute. Kim headed back Magno Cruz’ cross for Oh Ban-suk, who set up Toscano to lash home from close range.
Toscano crashed a shot against the bar seconds later as Jeju turned the screw and Lee made it 4-0 in the 72nd minute. Endo lost possession and Lee pounced on the loose ball to curl home from just inside the Gamba half.
Gamba replied from the spot in the dying stages, Ademilson dusting himself off to slot home after he was fouled by Chung.
In Tuesday’s games involving Japanese clubs, Urawa Reds swept aside FC Seoul 5-2 to make it two wins out of two with nine goals scored in Group F, but J. League champions and Club World Cup finalists Kashima Antlers suffered a shock 2-1 defeat away against Thailand’s Muangthong United in Group E.
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