Soccer-Cerezo back on track with comfortable win over Port FC

·2-min read

By Michael Church

(Reuters) - Japan's Cerezo Osaka returned to winning ways in the Asian Champions League on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Thailand's Port FC at Buriram Stadium.

Yusuke Maruhashi put Levir Culpi's side ahead 12 minutes into the game before Yoshito Okubo and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto scored either side of halftime to earn Cerezo a third win in four games in Group J.

Port had held Osaka to a draw in their previous meeting on Wednesday, but the Thai League side had no answer for the Japanese team that was back at close to full strength after fielding a weakened side in the teams' earlier clash.

Maruhashi controlled Riki Hirakawa's cross on his chest before thumping his left-foot shot home off the inside of the post while Okubo scored from close range on the stroke of halftime.

Sakamoto guaranteed the three points for Cerezo two minutes into the second half when he curled his effort inside the right post.

Cerezo are now on 10 points after four games, one clear of Hong Kong champions Kitchee after they picked up a second consecutive 1-0 win over Guangzhou FC.

Dejan Damjanovic was on target from the penalty spot once again for Alex Chu's team as the Montenegrin netted for the fourth game in a row to extend the all-time scoring record in the competition to 40 goals.

Matches involving teams in east Asia are being held in biosecure centralised hubs in Thailand and Uzbekistan, with the five group winners guaranteed to advance to the knockout rounds alongside the three best runners-up.

West Asian clubs completed their group stage matches in April and the Round of 16 is scheduled to be played in September.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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