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Guangzhou: Guangzhou Evergrande will take a one-goal advantage into the second-leg of their 2017 AFC Champions League Round of 16 meeting with Kashima Antlers next week after Brazilian midfielder Paulinho gave Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side a 1-0 win over the Japanese champions.

Paulinho struck with 15 minutes remaining of a game the Chinese Super League champions and two-time AFC Champions League winners dominated throughout, only to struggle to claim the goals their superiority deserved.

Antlers goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae, a winner of last year’s AFC Champions League with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, made several saves to deny Evergrande’s front line to ensure Kashima have a chance of progressing to the last eight for only the second time in the club’s history, but he was powerless to do anything about Paulinho’s 75th minute winner.

The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder sidefooted the ball home from close range after the Kashima defence failed to clear Yu Hanchao’s corner, leaving Paulinho to score his fourth goal of the competition and give Guangzhou a narrow advantage ahead of next Tuesday’s return in Japan.

Photo: Lagardère Sports