Group G: Guangzhou Evergrande – Kawasaki Frontale

I missed the opening 27 minutes, and hence Alan’s 1-0 goal by only seconds as well, of the match between Guangzhou Evergrande and Kawasaki Frontale, as they overlapped the ending of the Ulsan – Muangtong-match, and entered just in time to see Zheng Zhi fail to make it 2-0 from a one-on-one with the keeper. 3 minutes on and Evergrande had hit the crossbar and Alan had tried, and failed, to pass by the keeper in yet another one-on-one. The Cantonese giants looked like finishing off their Japanese opponents early and the starting eleven, including Brazilian aces Alan, Ricardo Goulart and Paulinho rather than Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho, showed that the game plan was to secure the three points using offensive prowess. Towards of the end of the half, however, the tempo slowed down a bit and at the half time whistle, the score was still 1-0.

Guangzhou picked up right where they left off after the break and went for the kill from the kick-off. Frontale where up to the challenge and the teams started trading chances. The longer deeper into the match they got, the more Guangzhou fell back to defend their fragile lead and Frontale moved forward to try to get something from the match. After 71 minutes Yū Kobayashi fancied himself getting equaliser but his shot hit the inside of the post about as deep as physically possible without going in. For the final 10-15 minutes of the match, the tables where entirely turned, it was all about Frontale and two minutes into stoppage time they got their reward. Yu Hanchao, somehow, managed to handle the ball twice from a cross and the referee pointed to the spot, up stepped Kobayashi and, sending the keeper to the right before putting the ball high into the middle of the goal, tied the game at last. Well deserved looking at Frontales strong finish but Evergrande will, surely, be beating themselves up for not having the result wrapped up in the first half.

The result leaves Evergrande, despite Johnathan getting the only goal of the match for Suwon Bluewings against Eastern SC in Hong Kong, still at the top of Group G, ahead of the South Koreans on goal difference (+7 to +1), both teams have scraped toghether 5 points from 3 games and are 2 ahead of Frontale and 4 ahead of Eastern.

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