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Guangzhou Evergrande advances into knockout stage despite loss, expulsion

Agencies | Updated: 2013-04-25 16:16

SAITAMA, Japan - Chinese super league champion Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday advanced from Group F to the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League despite a 3-2 loss to Japanese team Urawa Reds.

Guangzhou's Lucas Barrios opened the scoring in the 36th minute only to see Urawa counter with three second half goals, one from Shinzo Koroki and penalties from Yuki Abe and Marcio Richardes.

Angered by the two penalties, Italian coach Marcello Lippi was sent to the stands for kicking away a water bottle. But Guangzhou's Muriqui responded with a controversial goal to make it 3-2. Referee Mohsen Torki overruled a decision by his assistant that the effort was offside.

Guangzhou Evergrande advances into knockout stage despite loss, expulsion

Zhang Linpeng, left, of Guangzhou Evergrande jumps for a ball during their Asian Champions League Group F game against Japan's Urawa Reds in Saitama, Japan, April 24, 2013. [Photo/CFP]

Then, just as Guangzhou pushed for a last-minute draw, its defender Zhang Linpeng was sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Urawa substitute Nobuhisa Yamada.

Urawa is three points behind Guangzhou, which has 10 points, and two behind South Korean club Jeonbuk Motors, which beat Thai team Muangthong United 2-0.

Lee Dong-gook scored from a penalty kick in the 57th minute and Park Hee-do doubled the lead two minutes later for Jeonbuk.

Urawa will play at Muangthong on May 1, while Guangzhou hosts Jeonbuk.

Evergrande was joined by Group E leader FC Seoul, which beat Chinese club Jiangsu Sainty 2-0, while El Jaish of Qatar also booked its place with a 3-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab.

Koh Myung-jin scored in the 32nd minute and Yun Il-lok doubled the lead in the 72nd as the Korean champions improved to 10 points from five games in Group E, four clear of Vegalta Sendai and Buriram United with one round left.

Takayuki Nakahara scored in the final minute of stoppage time as Vegalta earned a point in a 1-1 draw with Buriram.

A hat trick from Wagner Rebeiro assured El Jaish made it through, joining Al Shabab which had already advanced.

The Brazilian midfielder opened the scoring in the third minute from close range and then doubled the Qatari side's lead with seven minutes remaining. He tapped in his third from a cross by Mohammad Methani.

In the other Group A match, Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates made up for an earlier loss to Tractorsazi Tabriz with a 2-0 victory. But the win wasn't enough for the UAE side to overtake El Jaish.

There is everything to play for with one round of matches in Group B, after Al Shabab Al Arabi of the United Arab Emirates came from a goal down to beat a 10-man Lekhwiya of Qatar 3-1. Lekhwiya could have advanced with a win but now will be hoping for a win against Al Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia in its final group match.

The Qatari side grabbed the lead in the 37th with a fine individual effort by Youssef Msakni late in the first half. But Al Shabab Al Arabi's Essa Obaid leveled just seconds after the halftime interval before substitute Ciel put the home side ahead with a tap-in in the 77th minute.

Lekhwiya were reduced to 10 men when Sebastian Soria was dismissed for elbowing and Edgar (Edgar Bruno da Silva) capped the victory with a goal in stoppage time.

Just like Lekhwiya, Uzbek champions Pakhtakor failed to advance after it lost 2-0 to Al Ettifaq  - leaving all four teams fighting for the two knockout spots.

Shehri gave the home side the lead midway through the first half with a shot from 30 meters and then Jamaan al-Jamaan curled in the Saudi club's second four minutes before the break to seal the three points.

With the win, Al Shabab Al Arabi moved up to six points, two behind Lekhwiya in a tight Group B, which will go down to the final round of games.

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