AFC Champions League Roundup: Evergrande squeeze through in Japan

The Chinese Super League has two representatives in the AFC Champions League Quarter-finals after Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG came through from their Round of 16 ties although the former sneaked through on the away goals rule.

Guangzhou Evergrande were defeated 2-1 on the night in Japan but their 1-0 advantage coming into the match helped seal their place in the draw for the next round. It was Paulinho who scored for Guangzhou again after his goal won them the first leg. The first half was dominated by Kashima Antlers but Guangzhou had patches in which they had Kashima against their backs. Pedro Junior opened the scoring in the first half and levelled things up on aggregate. But ten minutes into the restart, Paulinho made it level on the night and restored Guangzhou’s advantage. Kashima failed to deal with a long cross into the box, leaving Paulinho with the task of tapping it into the back of the net. The goal meant Kashima had to score twice in the half hour to progress further. They did score once more as Mu Kanazaki poked the ball in off the underside off the bar. But it was not enough as Paulinho’s goal on the night meant Guangzhou went through on away goals after deadlocked on 2-2 after 180 minutes of football. Kashima sacked their manager in the aftermath of the result.

In the round of 16 match involving the other two Chinese Clubs – Jiangsu Suning and Shanghai SIPG. Shanghai came into the match holding a 2-1 aggregate lead. But it was Jiangsu who came out all guns blazing as Alex Teixeira led the line. In the sixth minute, Wu Xi could only volley straight into the keeper from a corner. Minutes later, Jiangsu were unlucky to score as Hong Jeong-Ho saw his header saved off the line. The rebound bounced off him and clattered onto the post. But it was suicidal defending from Hong that sealed the tie for Shanghai half an hour into the match. It was a gift of a goal for Elkeson. The goalscorer forced a second one as his shot was diverted into the net Yang Xiaotian. Jiangsu scored twice late on through headers from Hong and Wu but Hulk scored and made sure the scoreline was as a reflection of Shanghai’s efforts across both legs. Andre Villas-Boas’ men march on into the quarter finals for the second straight year. The result could be a blessing in disguise for struggling Jiangsu as they can now turn their attention to the relegation battle at hand.