Soccer-Mateus double keeps Nagoya perfect in Asian Champions League

·2-min read

By Michael Church

(Reuters) - Brazilian Mateus came off the bench to score twice as Japan's Nagoya Grampus notched up a second win in a row in the Asian Champions League in Bangkok on Friday with a 3-0 victory over former champions Pohang Steelers from South Korea.

Yoichiro Kakitani gave the 2009 semi-finalists the lead with a long-range effort from outside the area 11 minutes before the interval while Shin Kwang-hoon's sending off killed any hopes Pohang harboured of finding a way back into the game.

The defender picked up a second booking 19 minutes into the second half when he handled in the penalty area and Mateus scored from the spot to double Nagoya's lead.

Mateus then put the result beyond doubt eight minutes from time with a low strike into the far corner as Nagoya followed up their opening win over Johor Darul Ta'zim to move three points clear at the top of Group G.

JDT sit level with Pohang on three points as a stunning strike on the turn from Leandro Velazquez earned the Malaysian champions a 1-0 win over Thai side Ratchaburi, who are in last place without a point from their first two games.

In Group H in Tashkent, 2008 champions Gamba Osaka made a winning start when goals from Patric and Leandro Pereira secured a 2-0 victory over Singapore's Tampines Rovers.

The Japanese side were joined at the top of the early standings by two-time winners Jeonbuk Motors from South Korea after they beat Thailand's Chiangrai United 2-1.

Goals from Lee Seung-gi and Gustavo, who scored from the penalty spot, gave Jeonbuk a two-goal lead but Ekanit Punya's close range effort after a mistake by the Korean defence ensured a nervous finish for Kim Sang-sik's side.

Games in the eastern half of the Asian Champions League are being played in biosecure centralised hubs in Thailand and Uzbekistan due to the ongoing pandemic.

Winners of the five groups will advance to the knockout rounds alongside the three runners-up with the best records.

Teams in the west of the continent have already completed their group stage matches and the last 16 is scheduled to be played in September, with the final slated for late November.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)