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Gamba on fire as China, Australia celebrate

Reigning champions Gamba Osaka maintained their red-hot form to stun FC Seoul 4-2 on Tuesday as China's Shandong Luneng got their AFC Champions League campaign back on track in emphatic fashion.

Elsewhere, Newcastle Jets handed Australia its first win of the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Korea's Ulsan Hyundai, while the clash between J-League stalwarts Nagoya Grampus and Beijing Guoan ended goalless.

Japan's Gamba have been impressive recently, following up on their 3-0 win over Shandong in the Champions League last week by moving to the top of the J-League over the weekend.

Brazilian forward Montera Leandro was their dangerman in Korea, bagging a second half hat-trick after Masato Yamazaki put them in front on 13 minutes.

Jung Jo-Gook levelled the score eight minutes into the second half before Leandro's blitz left Seoul out for the count.

The mauling leaves Gamba with six points from two games in Group F and firmly on track for the knockout rounds.

Shandong, the Chinese champions, clearly learned their lesson from being beaten by Gamba last week in a 5-0 home demolition of Indonesia's Sriwijaya.

Sriwijaya were forced to play with third choice goalkeeper Dede Sulaiman after Ferry Rotishinu and his backup Afriyanto were ruled out injured and Shandong exploited their advantage.

Two goals apiece from Li Jinyu and substitute Miljan Mrdakovic and a Han Peng strike ensured the win.

The hosts issued a warning as early as the second minute when Dede punched away a dangerous cross from Li Wei before defender Alejandro Cichero headed over from the resulting corner.

The inevitable opening goal arrived when Li Jinyu struck in the 16th minute and it was no surprise when Han added a second four minutes later.

When Li made it 3-0 after 26 minutes there was no way back for the Indonesian minnows.

Champions League newcomers Newcastle Jets also rebounded well from their loss to Beijing Guoan last week with Sasho Petrovski scoring a brace in his home debut to earn them a crucial 2-0 victory over Ulsan.

Petrovski, who joined the Jets on a two-year contract last month, had long been public enemy number one with Newcastle fans after three seasons with rivals Sydney FC, but he quickly had the home crowd singing his name.

The veteran striker netted his first on 15 minutes after defender Ljubo Milicevic lobbed a clever ball into the box which Petrovski caught superbly on the half volley.

It marked the first goal by an Australian team in the Champions League in five matches, breaking a scoring drought of 466 minutes.

Petrovski made it 2-0 just before the break, meeting a Fabio Vignaroli cross to head past Ulsan 'keeper Kim Seung-Gyu.

In the West Asian side of the draw, Iran's Saba Battery were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Dubai side Al Ahli, while Pakhtakor host Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal in the Uzbek capital Tashkent later Tuesday.

In Group B, Saudi Arabia?s Shabab take on Iranian champions Piroozi while Sharjah play Qatar's Al Gharafa.

Eight more games are played Wednesday.

Copyright 2009 AFP Global Edition
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Mar 17, 2009
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