SEOUL: Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande fought back from behind to earn a 1-1 away draw with former title-holders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in a pulsating AFC Champions League group game on Tuesday.
The Chinese champions fell behind to a first-half strike from Jeonbuk’s Kim Jung-Woo, and the hosts nearly went further ahead when Australian defender Alex Wilkinson and Brazilian midfielder Leonardo both went close with headers.
But Guangzhou, gunning to add Champions League glory to last year’s Chinese double under World Cup-winning coach Lippi, got back on terms through Brazilian goal-machine Muriqui, who equalised in the 64th minute.
And the ambitious visitors nearly snatched a famous win when Argentine midfielder Dario Conca saw his header denied by the crossbar. However, the result was enough to keep them top of Group F and unbeaten after two games played.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds climbed off the bottom of the same group in fine style with a thumping 4-1 win over Thailand’s Muangthong United, who went down to 10 men after Piyaphon Buntao was sent off after half an hour.
By that stage, the Thai side were already a goal in arrears and Urawa, the 2007 winners, made their advantage count when Kunimitsu Sekiguchi and Genki Haraguchi both scored in five second-half minutes.
Thritthi Nonsrichai’s own goal 12 minutes from time compounded Muangthong’s misery before Siaka Dagno grabbed a consolation strike at the death.
But there was better news for another Thai outfit, domestic cup-holders Buriram United, who fended off South Korean champions FC Seoul 0-0 at home in Group E.
In Nanjing, coachloads of police were deployed to guard Jiangsu Sainty’s clash with Vegalta Sendai, who are thought to be the first senior Japanese male team to play in the Chinese city since the notorious wartime massacre by Japanese troops. -AFP
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