The Asian Champions League begins: Rivaldo scores to lift Scolari’s Bunyodkor; Wins for Kashima, Al-Garrafa, Zob Ahan & Esteghlal

Bunyodkor Tashkent 3 – Al-Ittihad Jeddah 0 (Asian Champions League, February 23, 2010) The Uzbekis, coached by former Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, got off to a flyer when 37-year-old Rivaldo curled home Bunyodkor’s opener after just four minutes. Jasur Hasanov doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 21st minute, and Brazilian striker Denilson completed the scoring in the 67th minute.

Kashima Antlers 1 – Changchun Yatai 0 (Asian Champions League, February 23, 2010) Japanese international midfielder Koji Nakata met a 43rd minute free-kick with a smart header into the far corner as Kashima won their opening match of this season’s Asian Champions League.

Seongnam Ilhwa 2 – Kawasaki Frontale 0 (Asian Champions League, February 23, 2010) Last season’s K-League runner-up Seongnam went ahead in the 34th minute when Montenegro striker Dzenan Radoncic played a through ball for Mauricio Molina and the Colombian midfielder slid home the opener.  Their roles were reversed for the second goal in the 78th minute as Molina teed up Radoncic’s powerful finish.

Al-Jazira 1 – Al-Garrafa 2 (Asian Champions League, February 23, 2010) The Qataris got their noses in front of the Emirati neighbours when Otmane El Assas rocketed home a beauty from the edge of the hosts box on 16 minutes. Younis Mahmoud doubled the visitors lead early in the second half before Rafael Sobis scored with an opportunist strike into the Al-Garrafa near post in the 56th minute.

Zob Ahan 1 – Al Wahda 0 (Asian Champions League, February 23, 2010) Igor Castro’s strike on the hour earned the Iranians the win.

Al Ahli 1 – Esteghlal 2 (Asian Champions League, February 23, 2010) Veteran forward Farhad Majidi was the hero for Esteghlal scoring a double.