Takashi Sekizuka, the Kawasaki Frontale manager, said he was a relieved man after seeing his side come from behind to beat Nagoya Grampus 2-1 in the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarter-final clash last night. Frontale had fallen behind to a first-half goal from Australian striker Josh Kennedy, but rallied after the break to take a one-goal lead into next Wednesday's second leg. Kengo Nakamura and Brazilian Juninho both found the net.
Sekizuka said: "We weren't as fluid as usual and gave away a goal in exactly the manner we were worried about. So I had to tell our players at to enjoy their football more and be positive. "Then Kengo scored a great goal - watching what the keeper was doing - and after that, our players found their usual form." However, he acknowledged the job was far from finished. "We have not won anything yet," he added. "This was a game we had to win."
Frontale had beaten Nagoya twice previously this season, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring when Kennedy's looping header found the net in the 28th minute. Frontale's early second half pressure was rewarded in the 59th minute as Nakamura struck with a free-kick, before Juninho tapped in from close range five minutes later. In other action, Uzbekistan side Bunyodkor came from behind to beat Pohang Steelers 3-1 in their first leg thanks to two goals from Server Djeparov.
The South Korean side took the lead after seven minutes through No Byung-jun, but Bunyodkor levelled through Victor Karpenko's volley in the 29th minute. Pohang had Kim Hyung-il sent off after the break and in the 79th minute Djeparov gave Bunyodkor the lead, adding a second with four minutes left. * With agencies