Goulart dou­ble puts Ever­grande into last 16

New Straits Times - - Sport -

GUANGZHOU: A Ricardo Goulart dou­ble steered two-time win­ners Guangzhou Ever­grande into the AFC Cham­pi­ons League last 16 as they drew 2-2 with Su­won Sam­sung Bluew­ings on Tues­day.

Af­ter can­celling out Yeom KiHun’s opener, Goulart looked off­side as he headed Ever­grande 2-1 ahead on 68 min­utes, be­fore Kim Jong-Woo’s late equaliser caused some late jit­ters.

But the sin­gle point was enough to take Ever­grande, the 2013 and 2015 cham­pi­ons, into the knock-out rounds in sec­ond place in Group G be­hind Ja­pan’s Kawasaki Frontale.

Sco­lari cel­e­brated wildly on the touch­line as the Chi­nese gi­ants erased mem­o­ries of last year’s em­bar­rass­ing group-stage exit when they were de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

Ja­pan’s Kawasaki smashed Hong Kong debu­tants Eastern, led by their trail­blaz­ing fe­male coach Chan Yuen-ting, 4-0 to rise from third place to top spot.

Else­where Ji Xiang’s 81stminute win­ner handed Group H table-top­pers Jiangsu Sun­ing a 10 win over 2008 run­ners-up Ade­laide United.

Ji pro­duced a clin­i­cal fin­ish when it mat­tered — in what was only the Chi­nese team’s sec­ond shot on tar­get — to end Ade­laide’s faint hopes of pro­gress­ing.

South Korea’s Jeju United made sure of sec­ond spot when they beat Gamba Osaka 2-0 thanks to goals from Chung Woon and Hwang Il-Su.

Chung scored on 29 min­utes with a de­flected shot be­fore Hwang’s mem­o­rable strike on 66 min­utes, when he cut in­side a de­fender and curled in his shot from a dis­tance.

In Guangzhou, Yeom raised ten­sions among home fans when he scored from a cut-back on nine min­utes, be­fore Goulart equalised eight min­utes later.

Ever­grande then grabbed a 2-1 lead when the Brazil­ian for­ward headed in Gao Lin’s cross from what re­plays strongly suggested was off­side.

With 10 min­utes left, Su­won’s Kim made it 2-2 when he made a Cruyff turn out­side the box, cre­ated some space and ri­fled his shot in off the wood­work.

But Ever­grande, who have won the last six Chi­nese Su­per League ti­tles, held on to main­tain their bid for a third Asian tro­phy in five years.

Mean­while, in West Asia there were no sur­prises as the UAE’s Al Ahli topped Group A on goal dif­fer­ence af­ter they thrashed Loko­mo­tiv of Uzbek­istan 4-0.

Salmeen Khamis put the Emi­ratis ahead with a 27th minute strike in Dubai be­fore a Ma­mur Ikramov own goal in the sec­ond half helped them con­sol­i­date while Asamoah Gyan and Ever­ton Ribeiro put the re­sult be­yond doubt.

Iran’s Estegh­lal also fin­ished on 11 points af­ter edg­ing out Saudi Ara­bia’s Al Ta­woon 2-1 to se­cure sec­ond spot and ad­vance to the last 16.

Kaveh Rezaei net­ted a 76th win­ner for Estegh­lal af­ter Al Ta­woon’s Mo­hamed al-Sa­iari 36th minute strike had put them on level terms af­ter Jaber An­sari’s 19th minute goal.

Group B also panned out as ex­pected with Qatar Stars League cham­pi­ons Lekhwiya emerg­ing as the top team af­ter a 4-1 romp over Saudi Ara­bia’s Al Fateh in Doha.

Mo­hamed Musa, Yousef Msakni, Ali Has­san Afif and Chico Flores were on tar­get for Lekhwiya in the first half while Al Fateh pulled one back thanks to an own goal by Flores at­tempt­ing a clear­ance from a corner.

Lekhwiya — aim­ing to em­u­late their lo­cal ri­vals Al Sadd’s amaz­ing ti­tle win­ning run in 2011 — fin­ished with 14 points, while Iran’s Estegh­lal Kouzes­tan played out a 1-1 draw with the UAE’s Al Jazira to con­firm their spot in the last 16 with nine points. AFP


Ricardo Goulart (right) of Guangzhou Ever­grande cel­e­brates with team­mate Paulinho af­ter scor­ing against Su­won Sam­sung Bluew­ings on Tues­day.

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