HONG KONG, Feb 14 — Fabio Cannavaro’s return to Guangzhou Evergrande as head coach got off to a frustrating start today when his team was held to a 1-1 draw by Thailand’s Buriram United in the opening round of the AFC Champions League.
The Italian 2006 World Cup-winning captain was selected to succeed Luiz Felipe Scolari as head coach of the two-time continental winner at the end of last season after being fired by the club in 2015.
After just 16 minutes, Brazilian forward Ricardo Goulart headed the seven-time Chinese champions into the lead, only for Buriram to hit back early in the second half through Edgar Bruno da Silva.
Buriram, looking to become the first Southeast Asian team to reach the final since 2003, hit the crossbar late in the game.
Overall however, the Thai champions were the more pleased of the two teams with the result.
Also in Group G, Japan’s Cerezo Osaka downed Jeju United of South Korea 1-0 thanks to a a 93rd minute goal from Kota Mizunuma.
In Group H, Australian champions Sydney FC lost 2-0 at home to South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
The visitors took the lead early in the second half through a long-range strike from Dejan Damjanovic. The striker sealed the points from the spot.
Suwon take an early lead in the group as Kashima Antlers and Shanghai Shenhua played out a 1-1 draw.
Shanghai’s Colombian playmaker Gio Moreno gave the Chinese team the lead after just three minutes at the home of the eight-time Japanese champions.
Yasushi Endo cancelled out that advantage early in the second half but despite significant Kashima pressure, the hosts had to settle for a point. — AFP