KASHIWA, CHIBA PREF. – Kashiwa Reysol defeated visiting Hong Kong side Kitchee 1-0 Tuesday night for the first win of their Asian Champions League campaign.
Substitute forward Junya Ito broke the deadlock in the 66th minute to secure victory for Reysol in the first-ever ACL meeting between the two sides.
Following a controlled attacking movement down the left side by Reysol, Ito connected with a Masashi Kamekawa cross before beating Kitchee goalkeeper Guo Jianqiao with a right-footed shot from the center of the box.
Reysol came into the match without a win in their past five ACL matches, dating back to the previous tournament, but hoped to reverse their fortune against the most porous defense in the competition.
Kitchee had allowed nine goals in their two Group E matches prior to Tuesday night’s meeting, but gave a more determined defensive showing in the first 45 minutes at Hitachi Stadium.
Reysol dominated possession but created only one corner and a single shot on target, giving ‘keeper Guo relatively little trouble in the first half. With his team continuing to lack offensive punch early in the second half, coach Takahiro Shimotaira decided to shake things up by bringing in Ito for Hiroto Nakagawa in the 56th minute.
Cerezo Osaka, meanwhile, suffered their first loss of the competition in Group G, going down 2-0 to Buriram United in Thailand. Andres Tunez and Edgar scored for the home side on a hot and humid night at Chang Stadium.
Elsewhere in Group E, Kim Shin-wook scored a hat trick for Jeonbuk Motors as the 2016 champions from South Korea beat visiting Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian 6-3.
Reysol sit in third place in the group on four points, behind second-placed Quanjian on goal difference. Jeonbuk leads with a maximum nine points, while last-place Kitchee has yet to secure a point.
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