Shanghai SIPG's Hulk (center) vies with Urawa Red Diamond's Kohrogi Shinzoh (left) during their AFC Champions League semifinal first round match in Shanghai, east China, on Sept 27, 2017. (FAN JUN / XINHUA)
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Big-spending Chinese clubs Shanghai SIPG and Tianjin Quanjian stated their ambitions in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday by kicking off with comfortable wins.
Shanghai, with high-profile Brazilian stars Hulk and Oscar, won 1-0 at Kawasaki Frontale as it attempts to meet favorite status among the 32 teams in the group stage.
Elkeson scored the only goal of the game at the home of the Japanese champion midway through the first half to put Shanghai on top of Group F.
In Group E, Tianjin strolled to a 3-0 victory over Kitchee of Hong Kong.
All the goals came in the first half with French striker Anthony Modeste opening the scoring. A Kitchee own-goal and a third from Sun Ke sealed the win for the ambitious port club.
Anthony Modeste, right, of China's Tianjin Quanjian FC celebrates scoring with teammate Axel Witsel during the AFC Champions League qualification match between China's Tianjin Quanjian FC and Phillipines' Ceres Negros FC in Tianjin, north China, Jan 30, 2018. (ZHANG YUDONG / XINHUA)
Persepolis 3, Nasaf Qarshi 0
Two goals from Ali Alipour gave the Iranian team a comfortable win against the visitors from Uzbekistan.
Al-Wasl 1, Al-Sadd 2
Al-Sadd picked up a dramatic victory in the second visit of a Qatari team to the United Arab Emirates in 24 hours in spite of the ongoing boycott of Qatar by a number of its neighbors.
Al Wasl's Brazilian striker Fabio Lima opened the scoring in Dubai in the first half and Al-Sadd's Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice in the closing minutes to take the points back to Doha.
Al Hilal 0, Al Ain 0
The 2017 defeated finalist Al Hilal met 2016 runner-up Al Ain in Saudi Arabia but neither team was able to break the deadlock and Al Ain headed back to the UAE with a point.
Al Rayyan 2, Esteghlal 2
A late equalizer from Ali Ghorbani gave Iran's Esteghlal a share of the spoils in Qatar.
Jeonbuk Motors 3, Kashiwa Reysol 2
Two goals from veteran striker Lee Dong-gook helped the South Koreans to a 3-2 win on their return to the tournament. The Japanese visitors had a 2-0 lead at the break but Lee inspired a second-half comeback.
Melbourne Victory 3, Ulsan Horangi 3
The South Korean team took the lead three times in Australia but the 2012 champion had to settle for a point.