Analysis: Guangzhou edge holders after resolute display
Kashima: Guangzhou Evergrande sealed the last place in the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finals as their 1-1 draw against Kashima Antlers secured and away goals victory and eliminated the defending champions.
The result means Fabio Cannavaro’s side return to the last four for the first time since winning the competition in 2015, but they were made to work hard for their victory and Kashima will feel hard done by to exit after creating a number of excellent chances.
Guangzhou's Zeng Cheng lauds team effort in quarter-final victory
Kashima: Guangzhou Evergrande goalkeeper Zeng Cheng was effusive in his praise for the work put in by his teammates as the two-time winners returned to the AFC Champions League semi-finals after an away goals victory over holders Kashima Antlers on Wednesday.
After a hard-fought goalless draw at Guangzhou's Tianhe Stadium last month, the visitors knew that scoring first would put them in a strong position due to the away goals rule and five minutes before half-time Anderson Talisca headed home with authority to give the Chinese side a priceless lead.
Kashima came roaring back in the second half, however, and Brazilian forward Serginho restored parity on the night after he re-directed Leo Silva's shot past Zeng. The J.League side laid siege to the Guangzhou goal thereafter, but their backline stood firm as Guangzhou, Continental champions in 2013 and 2015, held out.
ACL 2019 Allianz Goal of the Week: Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal SFC)
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com has announced that Al Hilal's Salem Al Dawsari is the winner of this week’s Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final second legs on Friday.
Ibaraki: Guangzhou Evergrande’s ousting of defending champions Kashima Antlers from the 2019 AFC Champions League on Wednesday has left Fabio Cannavaro increasingly confident his side can reclaim the continental title for the first time since 2015.
The Chinese Super League leaders advanced to the last four of the competition on the away goals rule thanks to Anderson Talisca’s 40th minute header at Kashima Soccer Stadium as the teams shared a 1-1 draw, both on the night and on aggregate.
And with the first leg at Guangzhou’s Tianhe Stadium having ended in a scoreless draw, the Brazilian’s goal was enough to set up a semi-final clash with two-time winners Urawa Red Diamonds in the next phase of the competition.
Kashima: Captain Ryota Nagaki admitted that the away-goals defeat on Wednesday, that saw AFC Champions League holders Kashima Antlers exit at the quarter-final stage, is a bitter pill to swallow for the 2018 winners.
A goalless stalemate in the first leg at Guangzhou Evergrande last month looked a good result against a team with a formidable home record.
Ultimately, though, the failure to score at Tianhe Stadium proved crucial as Anderson Talisca's opener in the return meeting on Wednesday proved a hurdle too high.
Althought Serginho did restore parity on the night for Kashima in the second half, the defending champions were unable to find a second and were eliminated on the away goals rule.
ACL 2019 SF First Leg Toyota Player of the Week: Bafetimbi Gomis
Kuala Lumpur: Bafetimbi Gomis has been named as the Toyota Player of the Week after the striker scored a brace in Al Hilal's 4-1 victory away at Al Sadd on Tuesday to help his side put one foot into the 2019 AFC Champions League Final.
However, it was far from an ideal start for Gomis in Doha as he inadverently netted past his own 'keeper on 14 minutes to give the hosts the lead. The Frenchman bounced back, though, netting twice in the right goal to steer Al Hilal to a convincing win at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.
As well as his double, which came from three shots on target, Gomis also created three chances for his teammates as he earned an 8.7 rating.
From the other side of the continent, Takahiro Sekine(below), came in second in this week’s rankings after the Urawa Red Diamonds winger scored in the Japanese side's 2-0 win over Guangzhou Evergrande of China PR.
Ibaraki: Head coach Go Oiwa was left heartbroken after watching his Kashima Antlers side relinquish their AFC Champions League title on Wednesday as the defending champions were eliminated from this year’s competition by Guangzhou Evergrande.
Oiwa, who led the eight-time J.League champions to their first continental crown last year, watched on as his team exited the competition on the away goals rule after an enthralling clash at Kashima Soccer Stadium.
Anderson Talisca’s first half header was decisive despite Serginho’s 51st minute equaliser as the Guangzhou striker’s away goal proved the difference between the teams after the goalless draw in the first leg last month.