Beijing Guoan boost hopes of reaching knockout stages
Beijing Guoan kept their AFC Champions League destiny in their own hands with a 2-0 win over South Korea's Pohang Steelers at Workers' Stadium last night as Chinese Super League clubs line up for positions in the knockout rounds of the continental championship.
Guangzhou Evergrande could seal their place in the round of 16 tonight when they take on J-League side Urawa Reds at Saitama Stadium, while Guizhou Renhe's hopes remain intact after a 1-1 draw with Kashiwa Reysol last night. Beijing's win over Pohang, who have been Asian champions on three occasions since 1997, restored their chances of progressing with victory courtesy of second half goals by Joffre Guerron and Shao Jiayi in a game Aleksandar Stanojevic's side had to win in order to keep their campaign alive.
After a turgid opening 45 minutes that was dominated by the visiting side, Guerron gave Beijing the lead three minutes into the second period while, three minutes from time, Shao scored from a tight angle after Freddy Kanoute had earlier missed with a twice-taken penalty.
"I want to express my appreciation to the fighting spirit shown by my players," said Stanojevic. "Their performance paid back the huge support we've been receiving for so long.
"The win keeps us in the competition. In the first half our opponents were very tough, and we adjusted our tactics accordingly for the second half. Beijing currently trail group G leaders Bunyodkor by a point following their 0-0 draw with Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Guoan face the J-League champions next week knowing a win will take them into the last 16 for the first time since 2010.