Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

AFC Champions League Group Stage Reaches Halfway Point

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on March 24, 2010
Farhad Majidi

Esteghlal FC's Fahrad Majidi has been amongst the goals in the AFC Champions League

The AFC Champions League group stage has reached the halfway point in 2010 and Stoppage Time has the guide to how all of the groups have progressed so far:

GROUP A (1st. Esteghlal FC 3 games/7 points; 2nd. Al-Gharafa 3/6; 3rd. Al-Ahli 3/3; 4th. Al-Jazira 3/1)

Tehran outfit Esteghlal FC leads the way in Group A thanks mainly to the goals of veteran striker Farhad Majidi. His two goals against Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli on Matchday 1 were followed with another brace against Qatar’s Al-Gharafa on Matchday 3 sandwiching a 0-0 draw with Al-Jazira (UAE) to leave the Iranian side top of the group with seven points out of nine. Al-Gharafa will be hoping to capitalise on any errors from the top side later in the group stage. They have won two of their three games losing only to Esteghlal so far having lost 3-0 in Tehran on Matchday 3 but have a chance of revenge on Matchday 4 when the table toppers travel to Doha.

GROUP B (1st. Zob Ahan 3/7; 2nd. Bunyodkor FC 3/6; 3rd. Al-Ittihad 3/4; 4th. Al-Wahda 3/0)

“Big Phil” Scolari’s Bunyodkur FC suffered their first defeat of the campaign on Matchday 3 losing 3-0 away to Iranians Zob Ahan who overtake their defeated opponents into first place in Group B. Goals from Hosseini, Ghazi and Kholatbari secured three points for Zob Ahan who currently lie second in Iran’s Pro-League and are transferring their good domestic form on the continental stage. In the other Matchday 3 encounter played in Abu Dhabi home side Al-Wahda lost out again going down to Saudi champions Al-Ittihad 2-0 and, thus, remain pointless in the standings.

GROUP C (1st. Pakhtakor FC 3/6; 2nd. Al-Ain 3/4; 3rd. Al-Shabab 3/4; 4th. Sepahan FC 3/2)

Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor have suffered at the hands of Bunyodkor domestically in the last couple of years but they are, unlike their arch-rivals, top of their group in the AFC Champions League. They defeated Iranian league leaders Sepahan FC 2-1 on Matchday 3 thanks to goals from Artur Gevorkyan and Alexsandr Geynrih to lead the table whilst Al-Ain (UAE) and Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia) were involved in a tight game on Matchday 3 with Al-Ain prevailing with a 2-1 victory to leave them joint second on four points with Al-Shabab.

GROUP D (1st. Al-Hilal 3/7 ; 2nd. Al-Sadd 3/6 ; 3rd. Sanat MES Kerman 3/3 ; 4th. Al-Ahli 3/1)

Al-Hilal were just a minute away from maintaining their perfect 100% record in this year’s competition as they led from early on against an Al-Ahli side who, despite their position in the table, gave the group leaders everything they had in this closely fought contest. However Eric Gerets’ men conceded a stoppage time equaliser but the Saudi side won’t be too dispondent despite the dropped points as they are playing some of the most attractive football in the tournament so far. Iranian side Sanat Mes Kerman went down to a heavy 4-1 away defeat on Matchday 3 at Qatari side Al-Sadd having taken the lead early on through Luciano. Al-Sadd replied with four unanswered strikes in the second half thanks to a brace from Leandro and one each from Felipe and Talal Al-Bloushi to give the home side three points and outright second place over their Iranian opponents.

GROUP E (1st. Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 3/9; 2nd. Beijing Guoan 3/6; 3rd Kawasaki Frontale 3/3; 4th Melbourne Victory 3/0)

The last few days have been terrible for Australian side Melbourne Victory. Having lost out in a penalty shoot-out to arch-rivals Sydney FC in Saturday’s A-League grand final they then lost in their latest outing away at Japanese team Kawasaki Frontale. The Victory were three goals down after just 22 minutes of the match and suffered further agony when conceding a last-minute fourth to ensure that they remain pointless at the bottom of the group. Conversely South Korea’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma are one of only three teams in the competition to remain with a 100% record after three group games (the others being Kashima Antlers and, ironically, Melbourne’s compatriots Adelaide United). The Koreans won their latest match 3-1 against Beijing Guoan scoring three goals in the last ten minutes of the game.

GROUP F (1st. Kashima Antlers 3/9; 2nd. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3/6; 3rd Changchun Yatai 3/3; 4th. Persipura Jayapura 3/0)

Japanese champions Kashima Antlers kept up their good start to the AFC Champions League with a convincing and wholly expected 5-0 drubbing of Indonesians Persipura Jayapura. With two wins against Jeonbuk and Changchun already under their belt there was never any doubt that the outcome of Matchday 3 would be a victory for the Antlers who will expect to, at the very least, preserve their three point lead in the table when they travel to Indonesia for the return game between these two teams. All the goals in the other Matchday 3 game between China’s Changchun and Koreans Jeonbuk came in the last half-hour of the contest with Jeonbuk coming from behind to beat the home side 2-1.

GROUP G (1st. Suwon Bluewings 3/7; 2nd. Gamba Osaka 3/5; 3rd. Henan Construction 3/2; 4th. Singapore Armed Forces 3/1)

Suwon Bluewings kept up the good form of the K-League entrants in this competition with a 2-0 away victory at China’s Henan Construction thanks to Brazilian striker Mota scoring a brace early in the second half. The other Matchday 3 contest was more of a topsy-turvy affair with Japan’s Gamba Osaka suffering a couple of scares on their way to an eventually 4-2 victory away at Singapore Armed Forces FC. Osaka were expected to coast to victory in this match but had to come from behind twice before securing the three points to take them within two points of the top.

GROUP H (1st. Adelaide United 3/9; 2nd. Pohang Steelers 3/6; 3rd. Shandong Luneng 3/3; 4th. Sanfreece Hiroshima 3/0)

It was business as usual for Australians Adelaide United who have won three out of three to remain ahead of 2009 AFC Champions League defending title holders Pohang Steelers. Adelaide didn’t have it all their own way in their Matchday 3 game at home to Sanfreece Hiroshima, who were leading the contest 2-1 with fifteen minutes to go. However a couple of late strikes from Rob Cornthwaite and Brazilian striker Cássio gave United all three points in a match they could easily have let slip. Matchday 4 sees the return match between those two sides so Sanfreece will want to get some points on the board in their home match against the Australians. Pohang Steelers have recovered from the setback of their Matchday 1 defeat to Adelaide by winning their last two games. Matchday 3 saw a 1-0 win for the champions over China’s Shandong Luneng, No Byung-Jun scoring the only goal of the game to secure second place in the table for the Korean side.

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