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Sydney FC hold on for draw in ACL opener

Late heroics from goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne have helped Sydney FC hold on for a 0-0 draw with South Korea’s Jeonbuk in their opening Asian Champions League clash in Vietnam.

Neither side impressed at Ho Chi Minh City’s Thong Nhat Stadium on Saturday but the two-time Korean champions still threatened to snatch a win in the 87th minute.

Former Swansea City striker Mo Barrow looked set to break Sydney FC hearts with his late header, only for his effort to be dramatically saved on the line by Redmayne.

Both Sydney FC and Jeonbuk sit mid-table in Group H behind Australian coach Kevin Muscat’s Yokohama F Marinos.

Marinos tops the group following the opening round of matches after a first half double from striker Leo Ceara secured a 2-1 victory over Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

Sydney FC next take on Hoang Anh Gia Lai on Tuesday.

They are looking to end Australia’s recent tough run of results at the Asian Champions League.

Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers claimed the 2014 title, while Adelaide United reached the final in 2008.

But since the Wanderers’ triumph, no Australian team has gone further than the competition’s round of 16.

Former Socceroo Muscat’s Marinos appear the team to beat in Group H after their impressive start.

Brazilian Ceara struck twice in six minutes to put Marinos in command before Takuya Kida’s 31st minute own goal gave the Vietnamese hope.

Ceara leapt up to backheel Katsuya Nagato’s corner under goalkeeper Huynh Tuan Linh in the 19th minute and doubled his side’s lead in the 25th minute when he again combined with Nagato, this time heading home.

Kida nodded into his own goal following Nguyen Cong Phuong’s corner but Yokohama should have restored their two-goal cushion, with Ceara thumping his header against the bar early in the second half.

Only the winners of each of the five groups being played in the east of the continent are sure to advance to the next round, where they will be joined by the three best runners-up.

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