Muriqui stars for Guangzhou Evergrande in AFC Champions League
Brazilian attacking midfielder Muriqui was the star of the show for Guangzhou Evergrande as the Chinese champions began their AFC Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Urawa Reds.
In front of a packed Tianhe Stadium, Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou side sent out a statement of intent regarding their ambitions in 2013, resting both Lucas Barrios and Dario Conca with 20 minutes remaining.
After a tentative opening, Muriqui helped break the deadlock with a sublime run past one defender and goalkeeper Kato before squaring for Paraguayan Barrios to open the scoring and calm the nerves of the home fans.
Guangzhou began to impose themselves after the goal, with Muriqui continuing to take a central role in attacking areas.
Shortly after the break, the lead was doubled as Muriqui turned home Rong Hao's cross. The hosts were ecstatic with Barrios and Conca withdrawn early in preparation for future challenges.
With the game fizzling out to an obvious conclusion, there was still time for Guangzhou as Muriqui and Gao Lin combined.
Gao's shot was saved by Kato, with Zheng Zhi heading the rebound against the bar only for the unfortunate Keita Suzuki to turn the ball home for an own goal.