AFC Champions League 2017 Roundup: Kashima Antlers stunned; Guangzhou held again | Soccer

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Matchday four of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League has wound up with matches in Groups E and G on Wednesday. Here is a recap of all that has transpired on the continent. 

GROUP E:

MUANGTHONG UNITED 1-0 ULSAN HYUNDAI [Dangda 37′] 

Thai side Muangthong United, in what is their first AFC Champions League appearance in four years, continued their unbeaten run by defeating Ulsan Hyundai 1-0 in Nonthaburi and surged to the top of Group E. 

All that Totchtawan Sripan’s side required on the day was a strike from Teerasil Dangda in the 37th minute to secure victory as Ulsan Hyundai rarely threatened Muangthong United. The winner came after a cross from the deep was headed across by Mongkol Tossakrai and Dangda converted from close range. There was no fightback from Ulsan Hyundai as Muangthong created more chances to score the second goal. 

Mongkol was denied twice by the Ulsan goalkeeper from very good positions but ultimately, the Thai side did not need another goal to secure all three points. The result sees Muangthong sit atop the table with eight points, while third-placed Ulsan have four points. 

BRISBANE ROAR 2-1 KASHIMA ANTLERS [Maclaren 18′ Holman 49′ – Nagaki 79′] 

Brisbane Roar pulled off a surprise result of sorts when they downed Japanese side Kashima Antlers 2-1 in Brisbane on Wednesday. More importantly, it kept their qualification hopes alive. 

Faced with a must-win game, Brisbane Roar started brightly and stormed into the lead in the 18th minute when Jamie Maclaren struck a vicious left-footed effort into the bottom corner after being played in on the left side of the penalty box. It was all Brisbane for the rest of the first half but they could not get the second goal. But, post the restart, Brett Holman doubled the advantage after a shot from a smartly-worked freekick rebounded to him inside the area and he guided a first-time shot into the far corner. 

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Though Ryuta Nagaki side-footed home a clever square pass from inside the box to pull a goal back for Kashima Antlers, it proved too little too late as Kashima surrendered their pole position in the group. They are second with six points while Brisbane have drawn level with Ulsan Hyundai in third with four points. 

GROUP G:

SUWON BLUEWINGS 5-0 EASTERN SC [Ki-Hun 37′ Seung-Beom 63′, 79′ Johnathan 74′ 76′]

Korean side Suwon Bluewings flew to the top of Group G after carrying out a demolishing job of Hong Kong’s Eastern SC 5-0 on Wednesday in Suwon, courtesy of braces from Ko Seung-beom and Johnathan. 

The traffic was all in favour of the home team right from the outset but Eastern SC held them at bay till the 37th minute when Yeom Ki-Hun headed in a chipped cross from close range. In the second-half, Eastern SC were blown away by an onslaught from Suwon past the hour mark. Seung-Beom scored the first of his two goals in the 63rd minute with a venomous volley from just inside the area before Johnathan bagged a quick brace within two minutes. The first one was a neat finish from the right side of the box while the second goal was a sensational volley after he brought down a cross with his chest. 

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Seong-Beom then added gloss to the scoreline in the 79th minute with an arrowing finish into the far corner from a tight angle. The result leaves Suwon top of the table with eight points while Eastern have just the single point from four games. 

KAWASAKI FRONTALE 0-0 GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE 

Kawasaki Frontale vs Guangzhou Evergrande

Guangzhou Evergrande missed the chance to extend their reign atop of Group G as they played a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Kawasaki Frontale which incredibly was the Japanese side’s fourth draw in four games. 

It was the visitors who created the better chances in the first-half with Kawasaki goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong having to produce saves to deny both Huang Bowen and Alan. But it was the Japanese side who started the second-half well and Rhayner had several good chances but none of them were converted as the game ended goalless. 

The draw and Suwon’s win over Eastern meant that Guangzhou dropped down to the second spot with six points from four games while Kawasaki now have four points. 



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