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Shanghai edges Suwon, Ulsan shuts out Beijing

BELARUS international Vyacheslav Hleb scored the second half winner yesterday as Shanghai Shenhua edged Group G leader Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the Asian Champions League at the Hongkou Stadium.

Hleb's former MTZ-Ripo Minsk teammate Yanko Valkanov opened the scoring in the 18th minute for Shenhua, sending Hleb's long free-kick into the net with a well-timed header.

Suwon equalized in the 65th minute when former China and Shenhua captain Li Weifeng headed in a goal that was a near carbon copy of Valkanov's first-half effort.

Hleb, younger brother of Barcelona midfielder Aleksandr Hleb, sealed the win with a solo run and close-range shot in the 76th.

Suwon goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae parried the first strike, but Hleb calmly stepped aside to his right to volley in the rebound.

Li came desperately close to salvaging a draw for the Korean club when his 89th-minute shot beat the 'keeper but was cleared off the line by the Shanghai defense.

Suwon, Shanghai and Japan's Kashima Antlers all have six points in the group. Suwon leads with a superior plus-4 goal difference.

In Ulsan, South Korea, Oh Jang-eun scored in the 69th minute as Ulsan Hyundai beat Beijing Guo'an 1-0 for its first win of the Asian Champions League campaign.

After two earlier losses in Group E, Ulsan needed a win to stay in contention for a place in the knockout stage.

Ulsan struggled to find a way past the impressive Beijing goalkeeper Yang Zhi for 68 minutes before Oh's intervention. It was a deserved win for the Korean club but the result could have gone either way.

Beijing's Australian striker Joel Griffiths almost silenced the sparse home crowd at Ulsan World Cup Stadium after just 30 seconds. His well-struck shot from 25 meters beat the goalkeeper but not the crossbar.

Ulsan pushed forward and started to gain the upper hand but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the score goalless in the first half.

Ulsan's Brazilian striker Almir missed a number of good chances. He should have broken the deadlock four minutes after the break but goalkeeper Yang Zhi saved his shot well. There was little the goalkeeper could do about the goal. He made a fine save to turn a fierce Almir shot onto the crossbar and could just watch as Oh fired home the rebound.

With six minutes remaining, Ulsan goalkeeper Kim Young-kwang saved a Huang Bowen penalty to ensure the win for the Korean team.

In Singapore, J-League champion Kashima powered to a convincing 4-1 win over Singapore Armed Forces for back-to-back Group G victories.


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