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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Jubilo comes roaring back in Asian Champions League

IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Jubilo Iwata came roaring back from its opening defeat in the Asian Champions League with a 6-0 thrashing of Hoang Anh Gia Lai of Vietnam in their Group E meeting at Yamaha Stadium on Wednesday.

Iwata, whose 1-0 loss away to China's Shenzhen Jianlibao last week was followed by a 3-0 reverse at home to Nagoya Grampus Eight in the J. League on Sunday, bounced back in style thanks to doubles from Choi Yong Soo and Rodrigo Gral.

Norihiro Nishi opened the scoring after 22 minutes before South Korean striker Choi doubled the lead with a header seven minutes later.

Choi added his second of the night in the 57th and Brazilian Gral helped himself to a brace either side of Robert Cullen's 76th-minute strike.

Iwata is a point behind leaders Shenzhen and South Korea's Suwon Bluewings, who drew 0-0 in the day's other Group E fixture.

Defending J. League champions Yokohama F. Marinos played Indonesian club PSM Makassar away in later kick off in Group F.

Yokohama lost its opening match to China's Shandong Luneng, which made it two wins out of two after a 1-0 win over BEC Tero Sasana of Thailand.

In Group G, South Korean striker Lee Jung Hyo scored twice Wednesday to lead Pusan I'Park over Krung Thai Bank of Thailand 2-0 to solidify its lead atop Group G.

Pusan is undefeated in two games, having beaten Vietnam's Binh Dinh 8-0 in its first match last week.

Asia's premier club competition pits 29 sides from 14 countries against one another for a $500,000 winner's purse and a place in December's revamped FIFA world club championship in Japan.

Twenty-eight teams are separated into seven groups of four and first-round matches will be played from March to May, with only the top team from each group qualifying for the last eight.

The reigning champion, Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia, joins the competition from the quarterfinals.



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