Cesinha inspires Daegu FC, champions Kashima off to winning start

Brazilian striker Cesinha inspired a dream debut for Daegu FC in the AFC Champions League Tuesday while 2018 winners Kashima Antlers got their new campaign off to a winning start.

Cesinha scored a spectacular equaliser and had a hand in two more as the South Korean side came from behind in their first ever group stage match to stun Melbourne Victory 3-1 at Aami Park.

Reigning Asian champions Kashima prevailed 2-1 against a spirited Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia, who were also making their debut at this level.

The home side's goals came either side of half-time from Taiki Hirata and Serginho, who atoned for a first-half penalty miss with a fine curled left-foot finish in the 56th minute of the Group E encounter.

Diogo Luis Santos got Johor off the mark in the Champions League with a close-range finish on 80 minutes which prompted an unnecessarily nervy finale for Kashima, who had wasted a host of chances in front of goal to put the game beyond doubt.

Melbourne Victory took a first-half lead through big Swede Ola Toivonen after good work from Keisuke Honda and Kosta Barbarouses.

It took just two minutes for Cesinha to level when he thumped home a volley from outside the box after being set up by fellow Brazilian Edgar's cushioned header.

Man of the match Cesinha's mazy run from half-way in the 51st minute found Hwang Soon-min on the left whose deflected shot looped over the stranded Lawrence Thomas in the Melbourne goal.

And Cesinha turned provider again 10 minutes later when his cross from the right was poked home as the tall Edgar snaked out a long right leg to stun the home fans into silence.

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