Vissel Kobe run hot against Chiangrai; Marinos, Jeonbuk snatch narrow wins in AFC Champions League

Vissel Kobe made it two wins from two in AFC Champions League 2022 on Friday evening with an emphatic 6-0 rout of Chiangrai United. Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images

The promise of AFC Champions League 2022 being the platform for a Vissel Kobe resurgence grew on Friday evening, as they thrashed Chiangrai United 6-0 for a second consecutive win in the tournament.

Prior to the start of their ACL campaign, Vissel had remarkably gone their first ten matches of the new J1 League campaign without a win to find themselves in the unimaginable position of being at the bottom of the table.

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Their only win of 2022 at the stage had been a 4-3 extra-time triumph over Melbourne Victory in a qualifying playoff that sealed their place in Asia's premier club competition, and that result is now looking all the more important with the ACL looking their best change of salvaging something from this season.

Having kicked things off with a 2-1 triumph over Kitchee on Tuesday, Vissel stepped it up a notch against Chiangrai -- racing to a 4-0 lead by halftime courtesy of a Koya Yuruki brace and further strikes from Yuya Osako and Yuta Goke.

Brazilian striker Lincoln then came off the bench and added a fifth with a fine solo effort two minutes before the hour mark, before Leo Osaki rounded things off with a pinpoint strike from distance seven minutes later.

The emphatic win allowed to Vissel to move three points clear of Kitchee -- who were not in action on Friday -- at the top of Group J, which only has three teams following the withdrawal of Shanghai Port, and they already look likely to qualify for the Round of 16 at least as one of the best-performing runners-up.

Over in Group H, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors left it to the death to beat a stubborn Hoang Anh Gia Lai 1-0 and remain top of the pile.

Having failed to make the most of their dominance in the first half, Jeonbuk then found themselves at risk of falling to a shock loss as Hoang Anh Gia Lai gained the impetus as the game wore on.

But in the third minute, Moon Seon-min popped up with a speculative effort that found the top corner to snatch all three points for his side.

Jeonbuk remain one point ahead of second-placed Yokohama F. Marinos, who also provided late drama in a 1-0 victory over Sydney FC.

In a evenly-matched encounter that saw Marinos arguably look the likelier of the two teams to get the win, the breakthrough finally arrived with ten minutes remaining when Ryotaro Tsunoda fired home on the rebound after Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne's brilliant save to deny Takuma Nishimura had led to a goalmouth scramble.

With Jeonbuk and Marinos leading the way on seven and six points respectively, it already looks like a long road back for Sydney, who only have two points to their names, and HAGL, who are a further point adrift.