Guangzhou FC’s decision to field a young and inexperienced side for the 2022 AFC Champions League backfired yet again as Kawasaki Frontale of Japan served up a crushing 8-0 defeat in Malaysia on Monday. The Chinese side had been looking to pick up the pieces after last week’s 5-0 defeat at the hands of group leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim, with Guangzhou head coach Pan Yonghe calling on his young charges to respond with a “performance of a lifetime”. But facing Japan’s best side, they stood little chance. Kawasaki dominated throughout, leaving the South China Tigers struggling from the start and staring down the barrel of a heavy loss from the moment they trailed after seven minutes. Kei Chinen gave the Japanese champions their lead when he rose above the Guangzhou defence to head Yasuto Wakizaka’s corner from the left past goalkeeper He Lipan. Five minutes later, He was forced to pick the ball out of his net again as Chinen snatched his second of the night. From there, the goals just kept coming. Kawasaki grabbed their third courtesy of Shintaro Kurumaya and by half-time the Japanese side were five goals up. “Nice friendly match. When does the real tournament begin?” asked one fan on social media shortly after the game ended. “The AFC should punish the Chinese teams as they’re participating with young players,” said another, as comments questioned the quality of the AFC Champions League fixture. The second loss for Guangzhou came days after Chinese teams conceded a combined 12 goals and failed to score any in their Champions League group stage openers. Apart from Guangzhou’s dismantling by JDT at Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Group I, Shandong were thrashed 7-0 by South Korea’s Daegu FC in Group F. Kawasaki will be looking to build on their convincing victory when they face JDT on Thursday, while Guangzhou will attempt to chart a recovery against K League giants Ulsan Hyundai.