By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Renato Augusto scored one and set up another as Beijing Guoan moved a step closer to the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday with the Chinese Super League side claiming a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
The former Brazil international put Beijing in front just before the midway point in the first half when he poked home Jonathan Viera’s deflected cutback from the left.
Twelve minutes later, the midfielder turned provider when his lofted cross was headed in by the unmarked Alan Carvalho.
Substitute Wang Ziming put the result beyond doubt 15 minutes from time and Gianluca Ianucci’s effort, which was directed past his own goalkeeper by Kim Min-jae, was little more than a consolation for the Australians.
"I think they created a couple of chances in the first half and you could see their quality in the finish and the assist for the goals," said Melbourne's Leigh Broxham.
Beijing top Group E with maximum points from their first three games and a win over Melbourne when they meet again on Friday would secure their place in the last 16.
FC Seoul moved into second in the group with a 5-0 thrashing of Thailand's Chiangrai United.
Yun Ju-tae scored twice for the South Korean side as they stayed three points behind Beijing.
In Group F, Ulsan Hyundai moved into pole position after coming from behind late on to defeat Perth Glory 2-1.
Kim In-sung's 89th minute goal had cancelled out Daniel Stynes' fine effort from distance before substitute Junior Negrao thumped home three minutes later to break the Australian side's hearts.
Ulsan are on seven points, one ahead of Shanghai Shenhua, who picked up their second victory as Yu Hanchao’s second half penalty was enough to beat Japan’s FC Tokyo.
Fifteen teams from across east Asia are playing in the centralised tournament in Doha after the Asian Champions League was suspended earlier in the year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Group games will continue until Dec. 4, with the knockout round starting two days later.
The final will also be played in Doha, where the leading team from east Asian will face Iran’s Persepolis after they qualified for the decider from the western half of the draw in October.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)