Al Hilal win to begin Asian Champions League title defense


Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia began its defense of the Asian Champions League title by defeating newcomer Shahr Khodro of Iran 2-0 on Tuesday.

Peru international Andre Carrillo and the top scorer from the 2019 tournament, Bafetimbi Gomis, scored for Al Hilal.

Coach Razvan Lucescu warned his side was in for a hard time with a target on its back as the titleholder.

The Melbourne Victory kicked off the eastern zone of the league by beating Chiangrai United of Thailand 1-0.

A first-half penalty converted by captain Ola Toivonen — the Swede was fouled in the area by Tanasak Srisai — was all Melbourne needed against the tournament debutant. A plucky Chiangrai was reduced to 10 late when Thirayu Banhan was sent off.

With the scheduled game between Beijing Guoan and FC Seoul postponed — all games involving the four Chinese teams have been postponed to April and May because of the coronavirus — the win put Melbourne to the top of Group E.

Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea came back to draw with visiting FC Tokyo 1-1 after a scoreless first half. Brazilian striker Diego opened the scoring for the J.League runner-up just after the hour, and with eight minutes remaining, an own goal from Adailton gave Ulsan, the 2012 champion, a point.

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