A Paulinho and Alan inspired Guangzhou all but secured a place in the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League with a 6-0 mauling of Hong Kong side Eastern. Brazilian imports Paulinho, Alan and Ricardo Goulart scored all but one goal. Guangzhou were quick off the gates and piled the pressure early on. Paulinho scored with a clever headed finish from an inch perfect Zhang Linpeng. Five minutes before the breather, Goulart scored from close range to make it 2-0 Guangzhou. Five minutes after the restart, Alan skipped past two defenders and rounded the goalkeeper before making it 3-0 to Guangzhou. Alan scored his second with 20 minutes left. The hosts, Eastern managed to hit the woodwork twice but it was the away fans celebrating again as Paulinho scored again and made it 5. But Guangzhou piled on the misery and scored a 6th through Yu Hanchao’s free kick. Suwon missed the chance to go top ahead of Guangzhou as they slipped to a surprise defeat to Kawasaki.
Guangzhou were not the only team to enjoy a Samba-inspired rout, as Shanghai SIPG won 4-2 after going behind early on. Hulk was on fire as he levelled things up with a stunning goal after Seoul took the lead through Yan Junling. For the second goal, Hulk was involved again as he turned provider for Zhang Wei’s goal. Wu Lei headed home to make it 3-1 to Shanghai before the break. Seoul did manage to pull one back and cut the deficit to a solitary goal before Oscar stroked home and made it 4-2 Shanghai. Both Shanghai and Urawa are locked on 12 points but Shanghai edge it on the tiebreaker.
The third and final Chinese side in the AFC Champions League, Jiangsu Suning lost 2-1 Jeju United. The CSL strugglers had a perfect 100% record up until now and looked set to make it five wins from five as they led through a Ramirez header. But, the lead didn’t last for long as Magno levelled it up for Jeju after just six minutes. The result was sealed three minutes after the restart as Jeju took the lead. Jeju never looked like relinquishing it thereafter despite the pressure levied on them by Jiangsu.
Guangzhou Evergrande will face disciplinary action from the AFC after their fans unveiled a provocative political banner in the away end. The banner was aimed to target Hong Kong’s freedom movement. Angry Eastern fans from the nearby stand ran over and tried to confront the visiting supporters but were stopped by security.
“We informed the match commissioner of the banner content, and he has put it in his report to the AFC,” said a Hong Kong Football Association source.
“This banner is not allowed as they never applied to display it, but we don’t know how they got away with the bag search. We will have to investigate.”
The banner will almost certainly result in a sanction from the AFC, with the regional governing body stating in their safety and security regulations under the political action section that “the promotion or announcement, by any means, of political messages or of any other political actions inside or in the immediate vicinity of the stadium is strictly prohibited before, during and after the match”.