ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA – FC Tokyo opened their Asian Champions League campaign on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw against Group F opponents Ulsan Hyundai after an own goal from Adailton canceled out Diego Oliveira’s opener.
Seeking their first win in three meetings with the South Korean club, Kenta Hasegawa’s men looked on track when Oliveira scored on a breakaway in the 64th minute at a sparsely populated Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium.
After running onto a through ball from compatriot Leandro, the Brazilian forward angled a low shot from the left of the area past Ulsan keeper Jo Su-huk and inside the opposite post.
But the hosts equalized eight minutes from the end of regulation when Adailton headed into his own net while trying to repel a long free kick from Ulsan midfielder Sin Jin-ho.
Tokyo had threatened early on the counterattack, with Sei Muroya forcing a save in the ninth minute following a speedy buildup involving Adailton and Leandro.
Adailton, who transferred from Jubilo Iwata last month, was first to a corner kick shortly afterward, but his glancing attempt lacked power and was easily kept out by Jo.
Norwegian forward Bjorn Johnsen had a chance to give Ulsan the lead on a counter midway through the half, but the new signing from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar hit the woodwork with his volley from inside the box.
The hosts were the more aggressive side to start the second half, with Johnsen earning a corner kick 10 minutes in after forcing a save from Tokyo keeper Akihiro Hayashi with a long-range attempt.
Tokyo continued pressing forward after conceding the equalizer and almost snatched a late winner through the boot of Leandro, who hit the upright on a counterattack in the 85th minute.
The 2019 J. League runner-up, who clinched an ACL group stage berth with a 2-0 playoff win over Filipino side Ceres-Negros last month, will host Australia’s Perth Glory next Tuesday.
J. League champion Yokohama F. Marinos will start the competition away to two-time ACL winners Jeonbuk Hyundai in Group H on Wednesday, while Vissel Kobe will host Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim in Group G.
All matches involving Chinese clubs in the first half of the group stage have been postponed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
FC Tokyo, Vissel and Marinos will play their games originally scheduled for the first week of March against Shanghai Shenhua, Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG, respectively, in the last week of May under current plans.
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