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Guo'an off to a winning start

RYAN Griffiths and Du Wenhui were on target yesterday as Beijing Guo'an topped Australian club Newcastle Jets 2-0 in their Asian Champions League opener.

There was no such luck however for Chinese champion Shandong Luneng, which went down 0-3 to Japan's Gamba Osaka in an away fixture.

Shanghai Shenhua will kick off its Asian campaign tonight against the visiting Singapore Armed Forces at Hongkou Stadium.

In Beijing, Griffiths found the net in the sixth minute after a low cross from teammate Wang Changqing to beat goalkeeper Ante Covic.

Du Wenhui scored a last-minute goal with a low shot from outside the penalty area.

Beijing leads Group E with three points after its opening game.

In Osaka, Yasuhito Endo and Hayato Sasaki scored second-half goals as defending champion Gamba began the defense of its Asian Champions League title with a 3-0 win over Shandong Luneng.

Endo, last year's player of the tournament, gave Gamba a 2-0 lead with a penalty in the 72nd minute after Shandong defender Alejandro was called for a handball in the area.

Sasaki put the game out of reach seven minutes later, picking up a loose ball off an Endo cross and firing home with a long-range right-foot blast.

The Chinese Super League champion had few chances and was never a serious threat to the 2008 winners.

Brazilian Leandro, acquired from J-League side Vissel Kobe in January, put the hosts up 1-0 in the 20th minute when he drove in a low, angled shot from the top of the area.

Gamba defeated Adelaide United last November to become the second Japanese club in two years to claim Asia's premier club prize.

Gamba was without Akira Kaji in yesterday's Group F clash. The former Japan defender injured knee ligaments during Saturday's 3-0 win at JEF United Chiba in the J-League.

Japanese clubs have won the last two ACL titles. The Urawa Reds won the competition in 2007.


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