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AFC Champions League

Jiangsu’s first ACL victory a sweet birthday gift for manager Okuka

Jiangsu Sainty 2-0 Buriram United
AFC Asian Champions League Matchday 3
Lu Bofei ’42, Sun Ke ’43
Attendance: 35,756

Facing Thai upstarts Buriram United, Jiangsu Sainty had none of the problems that Guangzhou Evergrande faced last season, cruising to a 2-0 victory.

Jiangsu manager Dragan Okuka put out one of Jiangsu’s younger lineups and the kids came through for him. After giving up an early chance, Jiangsu settled down and started on the attack. With it looking like both sides were going to head into the locker rooms tied 0-0, a rebound led to a Lu Bofei shot from outside the box snuck through and beat the keeper.

Moments later, Jiangsu was back on the attack, this time it was a Ji Xiang cross that was headed in by Sun Ke. In less than a minute, the match went from looking like a nil-nil draw at the half to 2-0 Jiangsu.

The quick change in the match left Buriram reeling and the Thai visitors never recovered. Though they did mount a few challenges in the second half, Sun almost doubled his tally in the 70th minute, though he was flagged for being offside, a close call.

Post-match, birthday boy Okuka had this to say, “In our first game in the Champions League we were too nervous to show what we were capable of. Afterwards our players got used to the tempo and atmosphere of the ACL, so we’re back on track.”

Taking all three points, Jiangsu earns its first ever ACL victory. The win also puts the Nanjing side in a decent position to go through the group stage, sitting in second place on four points, three back of group leaders FC Seoul, but two ahead of the other two sides.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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