PETALING JAYA, Apr 16 – Guangzhou FC were hammered by Malaysian hopefuls Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) in their opening AFC Champions League match in Group I at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru on Friday night.
It was Friday Blessings for the Southern Tigers for their best ever start in the Champions League and the bright start to the campaign this year augurs well for the eight-time Malaysian Super League champions.
And it turned out to be a night to remember for their Brazilian ace Bergson da Silva who fired a hat-trick against the young Chinese side that was reduced in numbers on 70 minutes when defender Guan Haojin was sent off for an early shower for a blatant tackle on the Brazilian.
Putting that aside, Bergson opened the floodgates as early as the 10th minute when the Brazilian sent a delightful header into the Chinese net off an assist by Shane Lowry.
It was the beginning of a nightmare for Guangzhou goalkeeper He Lipan who gifted JDT their second goal when he fumbled Fernando Forestieri’s attempt, allowing the high ball slip through his hands and roll into the net on 13 minutes.
The marauding Bergson got his second on the night in the 27th minute and completed his grand hat-trick seven minutes into the second half.
In the 81st minute Ramadhan Saifullah got his name into the scoresheet for his team’s fifth goal on the night from an assist by Nazmi Faiz Mansor – that left club owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor, all smiles.
New national coach Kim Pan-gon and his assistant E. Elavarasan were at the match that must have pleased the South Korean as he looks out for new talent in the national squad.
In another match in the same group played at the Larkin Stadium, Korean club Ulsan Hyundai and Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw.
JDT’s next match is on Monday and will play Ulsan Hyundai.

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