China Watch - Asian Champions League round of 16
Two of the Chinese teams remaining in the Asian Champions League escaped with a draw, while the other suffered a loss in their first leg round of 16 matches11 May 2018 | Johnson Zhang
The first leg knockout stage matches in the 2018 Asian Champions League have come and gone with two Chinese clubs, Guangzhou Evergrande and Tianjin Quanjian, drawing their first leg clash, while Shanghai SIPG will need a miracle to come back from a deficit.
Tianjin Quanjian v Guangzhou Evergrande, 0-0
In front of a good crowd of 23, 508 at Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, Tianjin Quanjian and Guangzhou Evergrande managed a scoreless draw in their first leg clash.
Many chances were created for both sides in the first half. At the 4th minute, a smart run from Sun Ke found Anthony Modeste to grab an almost definite chance to score to give Quanjian a lead, but Zeng Cheng calmly saved the shot. At the 7th minute, a smart pass from Ricardo Goulart found Alan a chance to give Guangzhou Evergrande a 1-0 lead, but Zhang Lu also calmly save the shot. At the 13th minute, Modeste received a yellow card offence for an elbow on Gao Lin. At the 36th minute, Wang Yongpo almost found the empty net due to Evergrande’s overlapping defence, but his shot went over the top of the crossbar. At the 39th minute, Alexandre Pato found Evergrande defence overlapping again by passing to Mi Haolun in the penalty area but he was booked with a yellow card offence for simulation. Despite so much pressure from both sides, neither side could break the deadlock.
The econd half was similar with chances created at both ends, with another good save from Zhang Lu from a volley by Alan soon after the break. Modeste almost opened the scoring with a nice header but, once again, Zeng Cheng denied him. Alan twice found Quanjian's defence overlapping, but his shots went over the crossbar.
Despite so much pressure from both teams to create so many chances the deadlock could not be broken.
Kashima Antlers v Shanghai SIPG, 3-1
A 3-1 loss away from home may prove costly for Shanghai SIPG as theyseek a miracle to come from two goals down in order to progress to the quarter finals for the third consecutive year.
Without their captain and star player Hulk due to injury, Shanghai SIPG played a totally different style of football but received a boost with another star, Oscar ,returning from injury. But it was also Kashima Antlers in the early part with SIPG extremely lucky not to fall behind twice in the first 12 minutes. Eventually, Kashima Antlers scored just on half-time to go into the break 1-0 up.
The second half was much the same, with Kashima doubling their lead in the 49th minute courtesy of a goal from Daigo Nishi via a corner. In the 75thminute, an unfortunate own goal scored by Yu Hai gave Kashima a gift to triple their lead to 3-0. Right after the third goal, SIPG sprung into action and started a mini-comeback through a smart run from Odil Ahmedov to find Lü Wenjun, who managed a beautiful back heelpass to Yu Hai who then provided an assist to Elkeson to score a consolation goal.
Despite pressure from SIPG, it was too late, much to the relief of the 8,860 fans and Kashima goes into the next leg with a two goal advantage.
- With a current aggregate score of 0-0, Guangzhou Evergrande and Tianjin Quanjian meet again on 15 May for the second leg at Tianhe Stadium.
- Shanghai SIPG and Kashima Antlers meet again on 16 May for their second leg match at Shanghai Stadium, with the aggregate score at 3-1 to Kashima.
#acl2018, asian champions league