Guangzhou Evergrande halts Vissel Kobe's perfect run

Japan's two leading teams in the AFC Champions League 2020 -- Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F. Marinos -- saw their perfect records come to an end on Saturday after defeats to Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG.

Vissel, who already secured their place in the Round of 16 on the previous matchday, opted to rest stars like Andres Iniesta and Hotaru Yamaguchi and made sweeping changes to their starting XI.

Anderson Talisca put Evergrande ahead in the 17th minute with a penalty, after Hirofumi Watanabe clumsily tackled Talisca inside the area.

Six minutes after the 30 minute mark, Elkeson doubled the lead for the two-time Asian champions with a stunning free-kick that had opposition goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura beaten all ends up, and that ultimately proved enough to seal maximum points.

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Evergrande -- having picked up just one point from their opening two matches -- fielded almost all of their key players and the difference in quality proved telling.

With the win, Evergrande are now three points clear of bottom side Suwon Samsung Bluewings in Group G and can secure a berth to the knockout round with a victory over the South Korean outfit next Tuesday.

Marinos, which also started the day with a perfect record off three wins in Group H, dropped points to SIPG in a 2-1 loss.

Eager for revenge after losing to Yokohama 1-0 on Wednesday, Shanghai scored first in the 14th minute. A superb left-wing cross by Chen Binbin found Cai Huikang, who climbed high between two opponents and sent a thumping header into the back of the net.

Marinos hit back seven minutes later when Teruhito Nakagawa was released by a smart pass from Ken Matsubara and squared the ball for Ado Onaiwu to finish from close range.

But, ten minutes into the second half, Ricardo Lopes scored what proved to be the winner. Lopes showed good strength to turn his marker and then played a clever one-two with Oscar before breaking free and calmly finishing into the bottom corner.

The result means both Marinos and SIPG are now level at the top of Group H on nine points, five ahead of third-placed Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and both can book their place in the last-16 by avoiding defeat in the penultimate round of group-stage fixtures on Tuesday.