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By ESPN Staff

Sydney battle to draw on ACL return

Sydney FC marked their return to the Asian Champions League with a hard-fought goalless draw in their Group H opener against Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

The Australian side, who last featured in the continental tournament three years ago, were playing in their first competitive game since their domestic season concluded three weeks ago.

But they showed only a few signs of rustiness and managed to compete despite being a man down from the 32nd minute when Terry McFlynn was sent off for stomping on Lee Sang-ho.

"The team showed great character and it was a very good team performance,'' Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka said. "We wanted to win the match but we didn't plan on playing 60 minutes a player short.''

In Group G, a brace from Brazilian forward Rodrigo Pimpao gave Japanese side Cerezo Osaka the perfect start to their maiden Champions League campaign as they beat Arema Indonesia 2-1 at Nagai Stadium.

Pimpao opened the scoring after 14 minutes before Noh Alam Sah equalised from the penalty spot for the visitors four minutes into the second half.

However, Pimpao sealed the points for the hosts with his and Cerezo's second 14 minutes from time.

They join Jeonbuk Motors on three points in their group after a solitary strike from Park Wong-Jae on the hour secured a 1-0 win for the Koreans over Shandong Luneng at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

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