August 29 – The first legs of the AFC Champions League quarter finals in the eastern zone have both ended all square and with all to play for in two weeks.
Both ties were China vs Japan match-ups with both first legs played in China.
Two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande were unable to make home advantage count against reigning champions Kashima Antlers last night, sharing a 0-0 draw at Tianhe Stadium.
In a game affected by hot and humid conditions in the southern Chinese city, Brazilian Elkeson made his first start for Guangzhou in the AFC Champions League in over three-and-a-half years after returning to the club from Shanghai SIPG earlier in the summer.
Instead, it was another Brazilian, Anderson Talisca, who carried the main threat for the home side though Kashima’s own Brazilian, Leo Silva, was a constant threat. Kashima hit the bar in the dieing minutes but the deadlock remained unbroken.
Hulk to the rescue
In the other eastern zone tie, Shanghai SIPG salvaged a 2-2 draw with Urawa Red Diamonds at Shanghai Stadium on Tuesday.
Urawa took a two-goal lead into the half time break with efforts from Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki, but another Brazilian, Hulk, scored twice from the penalty spot in the second half to rescue the Shanghai. Urawa take the away goals advantage into the second leg in Japan.
The western zone quarter finals are similarly balanced with three Saudi clubs battling and one Qatari club hunting for a semi-final spot and the eventual match-up with the eastern zone winners. (see http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2019/08/28/saudi-contenders-lead-challenge-semi-final-slots-afc-champions-league-west-zone/)
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