What a match day for Chinese teams! None suffered a loss, three teams have already secured their progress to the knockout stage, and one will not make it. 

Buriram United v Guangzhou Evergrande, 1-1

A 1-1 draw away from home has sealed the result for Guangzhou Evergrande to reach the knockout stage for the sixth time.

A wonderful strike from Zheng Long which took a deflection at the 20th minute gave Guangzhou Evergrande a 1-0 lead. It was a very smart assist from Ricardo Goulart who found him at the right side. At the 41st minute, Evergrande would have doubled their lead from a wonderful solo effort by Goulart but a smart save from Siwarak Tedsungonen denied him off the post.

Despite so much pressure from Buriram United at the other end, there was a goal scored in the second half in the 92nd minute, courtesy of a wonderful strike from Yoo Jun-Soo, with the match finished a thrilling 1-1 draw. It was a good result for the home side and delighted the great crowd of 10, 052 people. Buriram fans know that the draw was crucial to their team possibly reaching the knockout stage for the first time since 2013, as Football Today's Pablo Bateson wrote about here.  

Meanwhile, it was a disappointing draw for Evergrande fans in the away section, but they are still content with their team's progress to the knockout stage.

Shanghai Shenhua v Kashima Antlers, 2-2

After a disappointing first loss of the campaign a few weeks earlier, Shanghai Shenhua were still unable to register their first win of the ACL 2018 campaign, instead playing a thrilling but disappointing 2-2 draw at Hongkou Football Stadium in front of 20,028 people.

A smart run from Giovanni Moreno in the 8th minute to intercept a pass from Naomichi Ueda to Obafemi Martins almost opened the scoring but it went wide. A penalty was awarded in the 12th minute when Xu Yougang provided a smart pass to find Martins in the penalty area. Moreno then scored a coolly taken goal to give Shenhua a 1-0 lead, his third goal of the ACL campaign. 

Injury struck Shenhua in the 22nd minute when Martins was subbed off with quadriceps tendon rupture that will sideline him from up to 6-8 months. But even without him, Shenhua doubled their lead through Mao Jianqing’s header from a smart corner delivery by Fredy Guarin. In the 32nd minute, Shenhua could have tripled their lead through Guarin’s long range free kick. Chances were wasted in the 39th minute through Mao Jianqing’s another header and four minutes later through Eddy Francis’ certain header goal.

Despite so much pressure from Kashima Antlers at the other end, there were two goals scored in the second half and it was a huge comeback in the 58th minute from Yuma Suzuki and just five minutes later from Leandro. Shenhua almost grabbed a 3-2 lead in the 84th minute through a smart run from Moreno but a smart defence from Kashima Antlers kept them at bay.

Kitchee SC v Tianjin Quanjian, 0-1

In front of a disappointing crowd of 6,299 people at Mong Kok Stadium, Tianjin Quanjian managed to scrape a 1-0 win over Kitchee SC.

Quanjian found themselves unlucky not to take the lead in the 6th minute, courtesy of the corner delivery from Wang Yongpo to find Zhang Cheng for the header. Then in the 19th minute, a smart run from Mi Haolun almost found Axel Witsel with an open goal but he put it wide. Despite so much pressure in the second half from both sides, Quanjian finally scored in the 89th minute, courtesy of Kwon Kyung-won’s assist to find Anthony Modeste with an open goal. This is Modeste’s third goal of the campaign.

The result keeps Quanjian second in Group E and certain of progressing to the knockout stage. 

Shanghai SIPG v Kawasaki Frontale, 1-1

A 1-1 draw at home in front of 21,657 people was enough to seal Shanghai SIPG's place at the top of Group F and to progress to the knockout stage for the third consecutive year.

In the 10th minute, SIPG were extremely lucky not to fall behind via a wonderful strike from Yoshito Okuba, thanks to a wonderful save by Yan Junling. In the 21st minute, SIPG was awarded a penalty when Odil Ahmedov was fouled in the penalty box. Hulk missed the penalty which he blasted his shot over the top of the post. 

In the 68th minute, SIPG scored courtesy of Hulk’s smart run and assist to find Elkeson who opened the scoring. This is Elkeson’s third goal of the campaign. But that lead did not last long becasue in the 74th minute, Kawasaki Frontale restored the parity, courtesy of a smart assist from Kentaro Moriya who found Kei Chinen at the far post to score the goal.

What's next?

  • Guangzhou Evergrande meet Cerezo Osaka in Guangzhou on 17 April.  Cerezo Osaka are second in the group, one point behind Guangzhou Evergrande who are on 9 points. 
  • Shanghai Shenhua meet Sydney FC on 17 April at Sydney. They cannot progress to second stage. 
  • Tianjin Quanjian meet Kashiwa Reysol of Japan on 18 April at Tianjin. Reysol are third in the group on 4 points, while Quanjian are second on 10 points and have already secured progress to the second stage.
  • Shanghai SIPG meet Melbourne Victory in Melbourne on 18 April with six points separating the teams, and with SIPG already having secured progress to the next stage. 

Categories: News | Asia

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