Beijing: Record signing Ricardo Goulart gave Guangzhou Evergrande`s new boss Fabio Cannavaro a flying start in the AFC Champions League when he snatched a 1-0 win over FC Seoul on Wednesday.
The Brazilian joined the megabucks 2013 champions for a Chinese record of 15 million euros ($17 million) last month, and it looked a shrewd investment as his first-half header sealed victory.
Goulart`s thunderbolt shot was parried away but, from the resulting corner, he combined with fellow Brazilian newcomer Alan to settle what was a rematch of the 2013 final.
Alan, an 11-million-euro acquisition from Red Bull Salzburg, nodded the high corner to the back post where the unmarked Goulart stooped to header it home on 31 minutes.
Sharp-suited Cannavaro was appearing in front of the red hordes at Guangzhou`s Tianhe stadium for the first time, and the Italian will be relieved to get off the mark in Group H.
It was only the 2006 world player of the year`s second game in management following Guangzhou`s shock Chinese Super Cup loss to Shandong Luneng on penalties earlier this month.
However, Guangzhou trail Western Sydney Wanderers on goal difference in Group H after the defending champions shrugged off woeful domestic form to beat Kashima Antlers 3-1.
A Gen Shoji own goal helped the Wanderers on their way and, despite Shoma Doi`s 68th-minute equaliser, late strikes from Yojiro Takahagi and Mark Bridge sealed the away win.
The victory will be a major boost for last year`s surprise winners, who have registered just one victory from 16 A-League games and lie bottom of the domestic table.
However, Australian champions Brisbane Roar were cruelly undone as they lost 1-0 to Beijing Guoan in Group G courtesy of a Shao Jiayi free-kick in the 90th minute.
Shao`s attempt from distance took a wicked deflection and sailed into the Brisbane goal as the ex-China international was mobbed by his team-mates.
Also in Group G, Oh Beom-Seok and Brazilian striker Leo netted in the second half as South Korea`s Suwon Samsung came from behind to beat Urawa Red Diamonds 2-1.