Beijing Guoan's AFC title challenge hits the rocks
Beijing side fail to hold on to lead against FC Seoul and exit Asian Champions League
Beijing Guoan claimed the goal that could have taken them through to the last eight of the AFC Champions League, but the inability of Aleksandar Stanojevic's to defend Freddie Kanoute's eighth-minute strike saw the Chinese Super League club crash out of the continental championship last night to FC Seoul.
The South Korean side scored three times in the final 30 minutes to win 3-1 both on the night and on aggregate at Seoul World Cup Stadium and progress to the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League for the third time in five years while Beijing were left to rue a missed opportunity.
"We were so close to going through to the last eight, to our best achievement in the AFC Champions League," said Stanojevic. "However this time we showed what we are capable of, we are not far from the level of the Korean teams. We eliminated one [Pohang Steelers in the group stages] and today we had chances to defeat another one.
"There is still one Chinese team in the AFC Champions League, and I hope Guangzhou Evergrande can win the tournament.
"For us this game is very sad, but we will come back next year."
Kanoute gave Beijing the upper hand when he capitalised on the ponderous home defence before sliding the ball beyond Kim Yong-dae to put Beijing ahead, claiming what could have been a vital away goal.
But Adilson's 62nd-minute equaliser - just a minute after Dejan Demjanovic missed from the penalty spot for Seoul - set the stage for Yun Il-lok to score his side's second eight minutes later as the Beijing defence stood and watched while the left winger lashed his shot beyond goalkeeper Yang Zhi.
Kanoute's sending off 10 minutes from time for a second yellow card soured the evening for Beijing while Adilson for FC Seoul and Beijing Zhang Xinxin were also sent off for two bookable offences late in the game before Koh Myong-jin put the result beyond doubt.
Beijing's exit means Guangzhou Evergrande are the only Chinese side remaining in the competition and Marcello Lippi's side face Central Coast Mariners this evening, defending a 2-1 lead from the first leg as the two-time CSL champions seek to reach the last eight for the second season in a row.
"We had a good result last week in Australia, but tomorrow it will be a tough game," said Lippi. "Our opponents are physically strong and also well organised and given their first-leg defeat, they will definitely try their best to win the game.
"However we are prepared, physically and mentally, and our players will put on their best performance."