Sports / China

Guangzhou Evergrande into ACL quarterfinals

(Xinhua/Agencies) Updated: 2014-05-14 10:46

Guangzhou Evergrande into ACL quarterfinals

Cerezo Osaka beats Guangzhou Evergrande 1-0 in ACL eighth-final in Guangzhou May 13, 2014. [Photo/IC]

Guangzhou - Defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande confirmed its quarterfinal spot in the Asian Champions League despite a 1-0 defeat to Cerezo Osaka on Tuesday, advancing with a 5-2 aggregate set up with a thumping away win last week.

The defeat marked Guangzhou's first home losing streak since they promoted to the Chinese Super league in 2011.

Mitch Nichols could have opened the scoring for Osaka as early as the fourth minute in the first half, only to see Zeng Cheng push it off the post. Zhao Xuri of the host team picked up Diamanti's through ball to make a very close effort which was denied by Kim Jin-Hyeon in the 24th minute.

Guangzhou Evergrande into ACL quarterfinals
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Despite a goalless first half, Guangzhou were pushing to achieve a home win after losing to city rivals R&F on Friday, but only to see Liao Lisheng touch the ball to his own net in the 49th minute. Osaka's South Korean keeper Kim finally killed the hope for the home team to come back with Elkson and Diamanti's efforts.

Having played four games in 11 days for the defending champions, some of Guangzhou's players seemed to be low on energy. However, Marcello Lippi did not consider fatigue as the first to blame.

"Our goalkeeper, defenders and midfielders made lots of mistakes which led to a sense of insecurity for the entire team," said the Italian World Cup winner Marcello Lippi.

"Today's opponents didn't send their best team, so mentally our team was too relaxed ... and it also proved that Guangzhou Evergrande is not a great team because a great team wouldn't show such a loose attitude in an important match like this."

Osaka's coach Ranko Popovic believed his team deserved a victory at Guangzhou, despite losing 5-1 in the first leg.

"We deserve the victory, we spared every effort to win and made it finally. It is a pity we suffered a too heavy loss at first leg, which made us impossible to come back," said the Serbian.

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