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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Henan Jianye earn draw against Gamba

SUITA, Osaka Pref. (Kyodo) Gamba Osaka had to be content with a share of the spoils as the J. League side was held to a 1-1 draw at home to Henan Jianye of China in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.

News photo
Battle for the ball: Sanfrecce midfielder Koji Morisaki (7) vies for the ball against the Pohang Steelers on Wednesday in Pohang, South Korea. KYODO PHOTO

On a disappointing night all around for Japan's representatives in the continent's premier club competition, Sanfreece Hiroshima crashed 2-1 at Pohang Steelers of South Korea, just when it looked as though Ilian Stoyanov's penalty had earned them their first point in Group H.

Gamba threw everything but the kitchen sink at Henan after Lucas had canceled out Zhang Lu's early opener from the penalty spot, but the Chinese held firm for a hard earned draw in Group G. Both teams have two points from as many games.

"It's a shame about the result but we just weren't able to break our opponent down," said Gamba manager Akira Nishino.

"We could have done without giving away that early goal but we only have ourselves to blame. They defended in numbers after that and we couldn't find a way through."

Cho Jae Jin's volley forced a smart block out of Henan goalkeeper Zeng Cheng after 60 seconds, but the Chinese raced up the other end and opened the scoring with their first raid on goal.

Atsushi Kimura kept out a shot from Senegalese striker Amadou Diallo from point-blank range but Zhang was on hand to snap up the rebound from 12 meters.

Gamba looked short on ideas going forward but Lucas put the 2008 champions back on level terms from the penalty spot 10 minutes from halftime after the Brazilian forward had been bundled over in the box by Xu Yang.

Cho's cheeky chip came back off the cross bar on 53 minutes and the South Korean striker again went close with a shot that was deflected into the side netting.

Gamba continued to put Henan on the back foot but were unable to find a way past their well-drilled defense.

South Korea's Suwon Bluewings were away to Singapore's Armed Forces in the other Group G game.

At Pohang Steelyard, the Steelers went in front early in the second half through Hwang Jae Won's header, but Stoyanov leveled in the 88th minute after Almir had brought down Tomoaki Makino.

Almir went from villain to hero, though, when he headed the winner deep into time added on to give Pohang their first win after defeat to Group H leaders Adelaide United 1-0 in their opening game.

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