Brazilian forward Elkeson’s double strike fired Shanghai SIPG to the top of their AFC Champions League group with a 2-1 win over Gamba Osaka yesterday.
Elkeson, off-loaded by reigning Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande in January, looked an increasingly important signing as he sealed SIPG’s second win in Group G.
It was enough for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side to leapfrog Melbourne Victory, who were held 0-0 by South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings in a combative contest earlier.
Elkeson put SIPG ahead with a finish from close range on 41 minutes as the home side dominated.
And after his Brazilian opposite number Patric nodded Gamba level on the hour-mark, Elkeson popped up again with the match-winning strike just two minutes later.
The decisive goal may have made uncomfortable viewing for Evergrande fans as it came from a cross by Dario Conca, Elkeson’s former team-mate at the Asian and Chinese title-holders.
Meanwhile big-spending Chinese team Jiangsu Suning’s unconvincing campaign remained stuck in second gear with a 0-0 draw away to FC Tokyo.
Asia’s record signing Alex Teixeira failed to inspire the visitors, who were missing ex-Chelsea midfielder Ramires following a red card in their previous outing.
Instead it was FC Tokyo who looked likelier to win, with goalkeeper Zhang Sipeng forced into a reaction save in the second half and Hiroki Kawano seeing a deflected header drop just wide.
The draw left Jiangsu second in Group E behind 2006 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who beat bottom-placed Vietnamese outfit Binh Duong 2-0.
In Melbourne, A-League champions Victory were frustrated by a disciplined Suwon defence, although the goalless draw meant they remained unbeaten in their three games so far.
Chances were at a premium with Kwak Hee-Ju man-marking leading Victory scorer Besart Berisha so closely that he didn’t have any shots at goal in the 90 minutes.
“They are a very difficult team to break down, they’re so disciplined,” Victory coach Kevin Muscat said.
“When you’re that disciplined and you’ve got a work ethic like Suwon have then they are difficult to break down but we did create some decent chances, particularly in the first half.”
Victory veteran Archie Thompson had the ball in the back of the net in the 53rd minute after heading in from a corner, but was ruled offside.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) 2 Binh Duong (VIE) 0
FC Tokyo (JPN) 0 Jiangsu Suning (CHN) 0
Melbourne Victory (AUS) 0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR) 0
Shanghai SIPG (CHN) 2 Gamba Osaka (JPN) 1
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