Mateja Kezman's first goal in this season's AFC Cup boosted South China's hopes of reaching the last 16 with a 1-0 win over East Bengal at Hong Kong Stadium.
With just one point from their opening two games, the hosts were in desperate need of three points and the former Chelsea striker settled a Group H encounter they largely dominated in the 68th minute with a close-range header from Au Yeung Yiu Chung's pinpoint cross.
Persipura Jayapura top the group following a 3-0 victory over Chonburi in the first-ever game played at their Mandala Stadium.
The Indonesians took the lead in the ninth minute when Boaz Solossa beat two defenders and crossed for Tinus Pae to slot home.
Titus Bonai made it 2-0 shortly before half-time before Lukas Mandowen took advantage of a handling error by Chonburi keeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool to net the third seven minutes from time. However, Yohanis Tjoe was sent off a minute from the end for Persipura after receiving a second yellow card.
In Group F, Leandro Carrijo scored four times as TSW Pegasus won 5-3 at VB in a game that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Leandro opened the scoring after 14 minutes with a fine header from Lai Yiu Cheong's cross before netting the second in the 21st minute after combining with the same player.
The Brazilian completed his hat-trick two minutes later from the edge of the box before setting up Lai for TSW Pegasus' fourth.
Visiting skipper Agbo Fofo was sent off for a second bookable offence just before half-time and Abu Masaray reduced the arrears from the spot but any hope of a VB fightback was quashed when Mohamed Arif was also cautioned for a second time.
Leandro scored his fourth and his side's fifth with a deflected free-kick before late goals from Shamveel Qasim and Ismail Easa made the scoreline respectable.
The Hong Kong side trail leaders Sriwijaya by a point after the Indonesians overcame a numerical disadvantage to beat Song Lam Nghe An 3-1.
Veteran striker Keith Gumbs had put the hosts in front with a 14th-minute free-kick but Bobby Satria was then sent-off just after the half-hour mark for a professional foul.
Pham Van Quyen levelled for the Vietnamese side from close range but further goals from Thierry Gathuessy and Budi Sudarsono clinched the points.
Shurtan recovered from conceding a soft early goal to draw 1-1 with Al Ittihad in Group B.
The Syrians were gifted the lead after just two minutes in Guzor when a mix-up between keeper Mikheil Alavidze and defender Timur Sultanov presented Marjan Jugovic with a simple finish.
The Uzbeks equalised just before the break through skipper Igor Taran's header to leave both sides on four points - five behind leaders Al Qadsia.
Mahmoud Shelbaieh scored twice as Al Wehdat took control of Group D with a crucial 3-1 victory at Kuwait Sports Club.
Ali Al Kandari's goal had put the hosts in front after 27 minutes but Amer Abu Hwaiti equalised for Al Wehdat before Shelbaieh gave them the edge just before the break.
Shelbaieh then clinched the points 10 minutes from time.
Al Wehdat now top the table on nine points with Kuwait SC occupying the second qualifying spot on six points, three ahead of Al Talaba after the latter's 2-1 win at Al Suwaiq.
Al Talaba struck first when Abbas Al Kaabi found the back of the net in the 23rd minute and they built on that advantage two minutes before the interval when Hasan Zamil added a second.
Al Suwaiq gave themselves hope of salvaging something from the contest when Khalil Al Alawi found the back of the net with just under 20 minutes to go but the Iraqis hung on to claim their first win of the competition.