Group F: Guangzhou Evergrande FC (CHN) 1-0 Daegu FC (KOR)
Guangzhou: Two-time winners Guangzhou Evergrande qualified for the last 16 of the 2019 AFC Champions League at the expense of K-League side Daegu after securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over the tournament debutants on Wednesday.
Chinese Super League side Guangzhou had to win at Tianhe Stadium to qualify as runners-up from Group F behind Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima, with Korean FA Cup winners Daegu only needing a draw to progress.
And it was the home side who claimed the result they needed as Huang Bowen’s corner found the back of the net, with Guangzhou's Paulinho credited with the goal despite Jeong Tae-wook appearing to turn the ball into his own net from the edge of the six-yard area just after the hour mark.
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Guangzhou had to win to leapfrog the visitors, but it was Daegu who created the first chance of note after 32 minutes of an even first half as Kim Dae-won's strike from just outside the penalty area was unconvincingly gathered by Guangzhou goalkeeper Liu Dianzuo.
Guangzhou soon created their first real threat on goal three minutes later as Daegu goalkeeper Jang Sung-won had to be alert to claw away Zhang Linpeng’s glancing downward header from an inviting Huang free-kick.
And the home side finished the half strongly as Wei Shihao sent a shot from the edge of the penalty area skipping past the foot of the post seven minutes before half-time with goalkeeper Jang rooted to the spot in the centre of the goal.
Daegu still looked the side more likely to claim the result they needed as the tight nature of the contest continued into the second half.
But after 64 minutes it was Guangzhou who broke the deadlock as Paulinho challenged Jeong Tae-wook for Huang’s left wing corner, and with the Brazilian only appearing to apply a slight touch to the ball, it cannoned off the defender and into the back of the net to queue wild celebrations.
Daegu, though, still only needed a draw from the game to qualify instead of Guangzhou and were within inches of equalising with nine minutes remaining as Jeong Seung-won's shot from outside of the penalty area skipped past on the wrong side of the post.
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