Soccer-Cerezo's Sakamoto scores to cancel out freak Port opener

·1-min read

By Michael Church

(Reuters) - Tatsuhiro Sakamoto salvaged a point for Cerezo Osaka at Buriram Stadium on Wednesday, coming off the bench to equalise after Pakorn Parmpak's freak opener and earn his side a 1-1 draw with Port FC in Group J of the Asian Champions League.

Pakorn had given the Thai club the lead deep into first-half injury time with a long-range punt that bounced over stranded goalkeeper Kenya Matsui.

But Sakamoto was introduced from the bench with a quarter of the game remaining and, 11 minutes before the end, he linked up with fellow substitute Hiroshi Kiyotake to level the scores.

The draw keeps the Japanese club on top of the standings on seven points, three ahead of Port in third and one clear of Hong Kong's Kitchee, who defeated Guangzhou FC 1-0 thanks to another goal from Dejan Damjanovic.

The former Montenegro international scored from the penalty spot nine minutes before the interval to add to his record goals haul in the competition, taking his tally to 39 with his third goal in three games.

Asian Champions League matches involving clubs from the east of the continent are being played in biosecure hubs in Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Winners of each of the five groups advance to the last 16, where they will be joined by the three runners-up with the best records.

Teams from west Asia have completed their group phase commitments in April and the next round will be played in September, with the final scheduled for late November.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Toby Davis)

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