China Watch - Asian Champions League quarter-finals, first leg
Tianjin Quanjian, the only Chinese team left in the competition, need a miracle to come back after their first leg defeat30 August 2018 | Johnson Zhang
A 2-0 loss away from home may prove costly for Tianjin Quanjian as they seek a miracle to come from two goals down in order to progress to the semi finals for the first time.
Without their star foreign players of Axel Witsel (transferred to Borussia Dortmund) and Anthony Modeste (unknown), Tianjin Quanjian played a totally different style of football to what we had seen in the first half of the year in the Asian Champions League campaign.
It was Kashima Antlers in the early part with Quanjian extremely lucky not to fall behind twice in the first 36 minutes. At the 41st minute, Quanjian almost opened the scoring with a spectacular pass from Wang Xiaolong to find Yang Xu, but his header went over the top of the crossbar. Neither side could break the deadlock at half time.
The second half was much the same. Quanjian almost opened the scoring in the 50th minute, but Kwon Kyung-Won’s shot also went over the crossbar.
Disaster struck for Quanjian when Kashima took the lead in the 60th minute courtesy of a goal from Léo Silva via a spectacular pass from Yasushi Endo. In the 72nd minute, a spectacular pass from Koki Anzai found Serginho to score a spectacular long-range goal to double their lead to 2-0.
Despite pressure from Quanjian to find a way to score a goal, it was all too late, much to the relief of the 13,634 home fans.
Kashima goes into the next leg with a two goal advantage with the second leg clash to be held on 18 September at Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium.
In other games
Qatar's Al-Sadd and South Korea's Suwon Bluewings had the best results of the other three games, with Qatar's Al Duhail the other first-leg winner.
Al-Sadd's 1-3 away win against Iran's Esteghlal FC put them in the box seat to progress to the semi-finals, as does Suwon Bluewing's 0-3 away win against another Korean team, Jeonbuk Hyundai.
The return match between Al Duhail and Iran's Persepolis will be of more interest with the Qatar team travelling to Azadi Stadium in Tehran for the next leg.
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