Defending champions Gamba Osaka and fellow J-League powerhouse Kawasaki Frontale blasted 10 goals between them as they romped towards the last 16 of the AFC Champions League yesterday.
Gamba are the only team to bag maximum points from their three games so far after crushing hapless Indonesian side Sriwijaya 5-0 at home in Group F.
Equally dominant were Kawasaki who ripped apart Central Coast Mariners by the same score in Australia.
Gamba look certain to make the knockout rounds with Chinese champions Shandong Luneng shaping up as favorites to join them after beating FC Seoul 2-0 to sit on six points to Seoul’s three.
In Kawasaki’s group, South Korea’s Pohang Steelers eased past China’s Tianjin Teda 1-0 with a 66th minute goal from Kim Jae-sung to leave them on five points behind the J-League team’s seven. The Mariners have two points and Tianjin one.
Gamba dominated from the outset against Sriwijaya and spent most of the match controlling the game from the Indonesian end of the pitch.
Brazilian striker Leandro scored a brace while Satoshi Yamaguchi and second-half substitute Michihiro Yasuda also got in on the act with an own goal by Ambrizal completing the rout.
Sriwijaya have now conceded 14 goals during their Champions League debut.
While the Mariners have let in fewer than their Indonesian counterparts, they were equally bad yesterday with Kawasaki leading 3-0 after 37 minutes.
The Japanese team’s neat passing and movement off the ball was a joy to watch and their forward line of North Korean international Chong Tese and Brazilians Vitor Junior and Juninho was irrepressible.
Tese opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a near-post header and Kawasaki doubled their lead when Hiroyuki Taniguchi scored off Juninho’s corner in the 22nd minute.
They made it 3-0 when Juninho’s shot was deflected by defender Nigel Boogaard into the net just before half-time.
Any hope of a Mariners’ revival was squashed soon after the restart when captain Kengo Nakamura rifled home a left-foot volley and Brazilian substitute Renatinho made it five.
In Jinan, Shandong gave their hopes of reaching the last 16 a major boost by winning a lively encounter with Seoul FC.
Shandong, who have been beset with injuries, had the better chances in the first-half but were unable to score with the goals finally coming from Lu Zheng on 55 minutes and Han Peng 17 minutes from time.