Updated: 05/14/2014 04:29 | By Agence France-Presse

Guangzhou lose but cruise into last eight

Guangzhou Evergrande remained on course to defend their AFC Champions League title as they reached the quarter-finals with a 5-2 aggregate win over Cerezo Osaka on Tuesday.


Guangzhou lose but cruise into last eight

Kotani Yuki (L) of Japan's Cerezo Osaka tussles for the ball with Elkeson Cardoso of China's Guangzhou Evergrande at the Tianhe Sport Center in Guangzhou, southern China's Guangdong province on May 13, 2014

Marcello Lippi’s Chinese champions lost 1-0 on the night, courtesy of a Liao Lisheng own goal, but Cerezo never looked likely to bridge the 5-1 deficit conceded in last week’s first leg.

Guangzhou, who reached their third straight AFC quarter-final, join Pohang Steelers in the last-eight draw after the 2009 champions beat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-0 to win 3-1 on aggregate.

Guangzhou hardly needed to exert themselves after last week’s impressive win, but Italy international Alessandro Diamanti nearly extended their advantage when he floated a shot against the bar.

Zhao Xuri also cannoned the ball off the leg of Cerezo goalkeeper Kim Jin-Hyeon when he slid onto a cross at point-blank range.

Guangzhou had an injury concern over Brazilian striker Muriqui, last year’s tournament top-scorer, who went off and was replaced by Gao Lin.

Cerezo were battling gamely—despite the absence of star forward Diego Forlan, who had earlier been named in Uruguay’s World Cup squad—and they could easily have gone ahead in the first half. 

Jumpei Kusukami had a shot well saved by Guangzhou ‘keeper Zeng Cheng, while Tatsuya Yamashita fired over the bar from close range after a corner.

Just after half-time, the visitors’ hopes flickered when defender Liao Lisheng, intercepting a dangerous low cross from Ryo Nagai, could only direct the ball into his own net.

Earlier in Pohang, Kim Seung-Dae settled the home side’s nerves when he scored in just the sixth minute.

Any hopes that Jeonbuk, the 2006 Asian champions, would mount a revival receded when Choi Bo-Kyung was sent off nine minutes before half-time.

In West Asia, UAE’s Al Ain beat compatriots Al Jazira 2-1 to ease into the quarter-finals with a 4-2 aggregate.

It was the Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan who stole the show yet again by scoring both the goals for Al Ain in the second half after a Ali Ahmed Makhbout strike had given Al Jazira a 17th minute lead.

Gyan took his goal tally to 10, having scored seven in the group stages and the remaining three in the two games against Al Jazira in the knockouts.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad advanced to the last eight with a 3-1 win over Al Shabab in Riyadh.

Mukhtar Fallatah, the star of Ittihad's first-leg win a week ago, put his team ahead in the eighth minute of the match and Fahd al-Muwallad made it 2-0 in the 72nd.

Abdulmajeed al-Ruwaili pulled one back for Al Shabab in the 80th minute but Al Ittihad finished off in style with al-Muwallad finding the net once again in injury time to give his side a comfortable 4-1 aggregate.

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