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Kashima: Paulinho was on target for the second successive game as Guangzhou Evergrande squeezed into the quarter-finals of the 2017 AFC Champions League on the away goals rule despite losing 2-1 to Japanese champions Kashima Antlers on Tuesday.

The two-time champions led thanks to a goal from the Brazilian midfielder in the first leg in China last week and the former Tottenham Hotspur man scored again to cancel out Pedro Junior’s first half effort.

Paulinho’s goal was to prove crucial as Mu Kanazaki scored in injury time to put Kashima 2-1 ahead on the night but, with the aggregate score tied at 2-2, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side advanced on the away goals ruling.

Pedro Junior put Kashima in front on the night and level on aggregate with a spectacular goal 28 minutes into the first half when he evaded challenges from Huang Bowen and Liu Jian before firing his shot into the top corner of Zeng Cheng’s goal from outside the area.

But Paulinho netted from close range ten minutes into the second half after Alan’s shot through Kwoun Sun-tae’s legs had come back off the post, to leave Kashima needing to score twice to advance, and Kanazaki’s late goal was not enough to prevent Masatada Ishii’s side exiting the competition.

Photo: AFP