March 13 (Reuters) – Talking points from the week in Asian football:
KOBE’S PERFECT RUN ENDS WITH DEFEAT TO URAWA
Vissel Kobe’s perfect start to the J.League season came to an end on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat by Asian Champions League finalists Urawa Red Diamonds.
Kobe had won their opening three league fixtures coming into the game but Atsuki Ito’s first-half strike earned Urawa back-to-back wins after defeats in their first two games under new coach Maciej Skorza.
Vissel still lead the league on goal difference from Nagoya Grampus, who defeated Kashiwa Reysol 3-0. Defending champions Yokohama F Marinos are sixth after losing 2-0 to Consadole Sapporo on Sunday.
ULSAN MAINTAIN 100% RECORD AFTER DOWNING FC SEOUL
Lee Chung-yong capitalised on a howler by FC Seoul goalkeeper Choi Chul-won to score two minutes from time and maintain Ulsan Hyundai’s perfect start to the K-League season with a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Choi picked up the ball after a back pass by defender Kim Ju-sung, and after Martin Adam’s initial strike following a quickly taken free kick was saved by the goalkeeper Lee pounced to score from close range.
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Defending champions Ulsan had fallen behind to Na Sang-ho’s 53rd minute opener but Joo Min-kyu levelled two minutes later before Lee hit the winner in the dying minutes.
Ulsan are the only team left with an unblemished record after three rounds and are two points clear of Pohang Steelers with FC Seoul a point further back.
RONALDO STORMS OFF PITCH AS AL ITTIHAD MOVE INTO FIRST
Cristiano Ronaldo stormed off the pitch, kicking water bottles in frustration, after Al Nassr lost 1-0 to Al Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League in Jeddah.
Al Ittihad, who are coached by former Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo, now lead the league by one point ahead of Al Nassr, with a third of the season’s 30 matches remaining.
GHALENOEI RETURNS TO LEAD IRAN TO ASIAN CUP FINALS
Amir Ghalenoei was named head coach of Iran by the country’s football federation on Sunday.
The 59-year-old takes over from Carlos Queiroz, who had led Iran to the last three World Cups during two spells in charge before departing at the end of the Qatar finals late last year.
Ghalenoei previously coached Iran at the Asian Cup finals in 2007.
KLINSMANN SETS SIGHTS ON ENDING KOREA’S ASIAN CUP DROUGHT
Newly appointed South Korea coach Juergen Klinsmann targeted winning the country’s first Asian Cup title in more than 60 years upon his arrival in Seoul on Wednesday.
“Our goal is to win the Asian Cup next year,” Klinsmann said. “Winning is the goal because you proved in Qatar you can beat big nations, you beat Portugal in Qatar and four years ago you beat Germany so you can do very well.”
Klinsmann has taken over as a replacement for Paulo Bento, who did not renew his contract after leading the Koreans to the last 16 at the World Cup last year.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford
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