SINGAPORE: Ex-Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-Gook scored twice ininjury time to put 10-man Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on the brink ofthe AFC Champions League knock-outs in a dramatic night of actionon Tuesday. Lee's late heroics stunned Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande3-1, while Kashiwa Reysol's 1-0 win over Buriram United gave allfour Group H teams a chance of reaching the last 16 in their finalpool games later this month. Elsewhere, Central Coast Mariners clobbered China's Tianjin Teda5-1 to resurrect their campaign, while Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma andNagoya Grampus played out a 1-1 draw to leave Group G alsoundecided. Jeonbuk's win in Guangzhou was sweet revenge for last year'srunners-up, who were humiliated 5-1 at home by the Chinese team andlost by the same score to Kashiwa, but who are now top of Group Hafter three wins in a row. Guangzhou's record signing Dario Conca, reportedly one of theworld's best paid players, put the hosts ahead with an earlypenalty before Lee Seung-Hyun levelled just before half-time. |
And 2006 champions Jeonbuk, fresh from clinching the K-Leaguetitle, then shrugged off the dismissal of defender Cho Sung-Hwan,as Lee Dong-Gook netted in injury-time and swiftly followed it upwith a penalty. There were more fireworks in the group as J-League championsKashiwa Reysol downed Thailand's Buriram United 1-0, leaving allfour clubs separated by just three points with one round to play. Kashiwa's goal came after 23 minutes when Hideaki Kitajima dribbledthrough to the left of the goalmouth before sending in a cross thatBrazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues netted in the right corner. The hopes of Buriram, who had surprisingly topped the group formuch of the campaign, took a dive when defender Yves Ekwalla Hermanof Cameroon was sent off shortly before half-time for a secondyellow card. Jeonbuk, now two points clear on nine points, host Kashiwa andBuriram, who have dropped to the bottom of the table, entertainGuangzhou in the crunch final group games on May 15.
In Group G, Central Coast Mariners hauled themselves back intocontention with a 5-1 beating of Tianjin Teda, the first win oftheir campaign, which simultaneously sent the Chinese club crashingto the foot of the table. Veteran striker Daniel McBreen scored a first-half double and JoshRose, New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey and BorussiaDortmund-bound Mustafa Amini weighed in after the break to put theMariners one win from the last 16. An away victory against second-placed Nagoya Grampus in their lastgame would secure progression for Australia's Mariners whileSeongnam, top by virtue of their head-to-head record, travel toTianjin. "It feels great to get that win," Amini said.
"We were going forthe jugular and got it, and now we're still in the competition." Japan's Nagoya had a second-half own goal from Seongnam's ParkJin-Po to thank as they kept pace with the 2010 winners with a 1-1draw away from home. Han Sung-wun had put the hosts ahead on 12minutes. The final group games will be played on May 15 and 16 with thetwo-legged round of 16 starting a week later and concluding on May30. - AFP/de.
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