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AFC Champions League 2018: Group Stage Matchday Four Review: East Zone

20:52 GMT+3 14/03/2018
Kitchee won their first ever ACL game while Shanghai SIPG booked their spot in the next round...

Matchday Four of the the AFC Champions League 2018 saw some exciting games in the East Zone. Here is a look at what transpired this week:


Tianjin Quanjian 4-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (Tongpo 8' Cheng 55' Modeste 84' Pato 90+3' - Shin-Wook 37' Adriano 67')

Chinese outfit Tianjin Quanjian handed South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai their first loss of the tournament on Wednesday.

The home team started the game well and took the lead inside 10 minutes when Wang Yongpo finished off a good move orchestrated by Alexandre Pato and Axel Witsel. Kim Shin-Wook equalised for Jeonbuk in the 37th minute. 

Zhang Cheng restored Tianjin Quanjian's lead in the 55th minute with a header. But Jeonbuk ralied their forces and got their equaliser in the 67th minute. Adriano bundled the ball home after Jeonbuk failed to clear their lines. But Anthony Modeste sent Tianjin into the lead with just six minutes left for the full-time whistle with a chipped finish. Alexandre Pato then wrapped up the points in injury time to pull Tianjin to within two points of group leaders Jeonbuk. 

Kitchee SC 1-0 Kashiwa Reysol (Cheng Chin Lung 90+2')

Hong Kong's Kitchee SC got their maiden win in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday with a 1-0 last gasp over Japan's Kashiwa Reysol. 

Kitchee began the game brightly at home and were handed a boost when Kashiwa went down to 10 men after Masashi Kamekawa was sent off for fouling Alex Akande. However, Diego Forlan could not convert the resulting free-kick. 

Kashiwa were largely restricted to playing on the counter but the deadlock persisted and it looked like a draw, only for some late drama. Right-back Cheng Chin Lung curled a stunning strike into the top corner from the right side of the area to clinch all three points for Kitchee SC. They are now just a point off Kashiwa Reysol who are in third spot with four points. 



Ulsan Hyundai 0-1 Shanghai SIPG (Elkeson 50')

Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG confirmed their spot in the knockout rounds of the AFC Champions League with a 1-0 win over Ulsan Hyundai on Tuesday. 

Though the home team started the match on the right note, they just could not force a goal while Shanghai slowly grew into the game. Oscar sent a free-kick narrowly over in the 30th minute but a goal eluded both sides. However five minutes into the half, Shanghai took the lead though Elkeson. Hulk did the creative work by surging into the box and set up Elkeson with a cross. 

Ulsan were unable to find a reply despite dominating possession as Shanghai ran out victors and sealed their spot in the next round. 

Melbourne Victory 1-0 Kawasaki Frontale (Barbarouses 90')

Kawasaki Frontale's search for a win in this year's AFC Champions League continued after they fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Melbourne Victory. 

The A-League side were put under pressure by the Japanese side in the early exchanges but they held on before growing into the game themselves. However, the game did not produce any goals despite ebbing and flowing. 

Kawasaki Frontale's Yu Kobayashi saw a goal ruled out for offside before Melbourne Victory snatched victory at the death. Kosta Barbarouses finished off a well-worked team goal to send Victory level with Ulsan Hyundai in second position. 



Jeju United 0-2 Guangzhou Evergrande (Gudelj 27' Alan 37')

 Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande notched an important win to stretch their advantage on top of Group G with a 2-0 result away to Jeju United. 

Guangzhou were on song in the first half and took the lead in the 27th minute. Alan did well on the left flank to tee up midfielder Nemanja Gudelj who rifled in a fierce shot into the top-corner. Ten minutes later, Guangzhou were two to the good. Alan headed in Yu Hanchao’s deep cross to ensure the match was well beyond the home team. 

So it proved in the second half as Guangzhou held on quite easily, partly helped by the fact that Kim Won-il was sent off for Jeju for a second bookable offence. Guangzhou are top of the group with eight points while Jeju are still bottom with just three points. 

Cerezo Osaka 2-2 Buriram United (Dong-Hyun 65' Sugomoto 88' - Dong-Hyun (OG) 11' Diogo 71')

Japan's Cerezo Osaka played out a 2-2 draw with Thailand side Buriram United on Wednesday. 

The Thai side were gifted the lead in the 11th minute when Yang Dong-hyun flicked Rattanakorn Maikami’s corner into his own net. It took the home team until the 65th minute to mount a response. Dong-hyun made amends for his earlier mistake by powering a header home from Yusuke Maruhashi's cross. But Buriram re-took the lead six minutes later as Diogo headed home a corner.

But there was a twist in the tale as Kenyu Sugimoto added a header of his own after a Hotaru Yamaguchi cross as the teams shared the spoils on the night. 



Shanghai Shenhua 0-2 Suwon Bluewings (Damjanovic 51' Sung-Kuen 88')

Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to South Korea's Suwon Bluewings on Tuesday. 

The first half was largely quiet with neither attack creating any chance of note. But the away team took charge of the game after the break. Six minutes into the second half, Dejan Damjanovic side-footed home from 16 yards after latching on to Kim Jong-woo's cutback. 

Shenhua battled hard to get back into the game but Suwon kept them at bay and then went on to nick one in the end to seal ther result. Damjanovic’s flick-on was cushioned down by Waguininho before fellow substitute Choi Sung-keun rifled home. Suwon rose to within one point of table-toppers Kashima Antlers with this result. 

Kashima Antlers 1-1 Sydney FC (Kanazaki 27' - Simon 77')

Japan's Kashima Antlers were held to a 1-1 draw by A-League side Sydney FC on Tuesday. 

The home team were certainly the early aggressors in the game and took the lead before the half-hour mark. Mu Kanazaki was left free at the back post and the star man headed in with ease to send Kashima into the lead. 

However, Kashima were unable to find a second goal and were punished for that in the 77th minute. Polish midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski's defence-splitting pass was collected by Luke Wilkshire on the left wing and his cross was headed in by Matt Simon. 

The result keeps Kashima Antlers on top of Group H on eight points while Sydney FC are still bottom.