WATCH: Guangzhou Evergrande stay winless after Urawa draw, Shandong take heavy beating from visiting FC Seoul
Shinzo Koroki’s late strike keeps holders Guangzhou rooted to the bottom of their AFC Champions League group after a 2-2 draw
Shinzo Koroki’s late strike kept holders Guangzhou Evergrande rooted to the bottom of their AFC Champions League group after a 2-2 draw with Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s moneybags Chinese champions had looked odds-on for the first win of their campaign after an early double from Brazilian playmaker Ricardo Goulart.
But a Zeng Cheng goalkeeping howler gifted Urawa their first goal on the half-hour, before Koroki struck in the 89th minute to snatch a point for the Japanese side.
The result leaves Evergrande bottom of group H with just two points at the halfway stage and with work to do if they are to reach the knock-out rounds.
Sydney FC leapfrogged Pohang Steelers at the top of the group with a 1-0 away win over the South Korean side thanks to Chris Naumoff’s 42nd-minute winner.
Elsewhere, in group F, Brazilian scoring machine Adriano reached nine goals in just three games with a brace in FC Seoul’s 4-1 win over China’s Shandong Luneng.
In Guangzhou, Goulart opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just six minutes, and he doubled Evergrande’s advantage from close range eight minutes later.
But a comedic moment from Zeng allowed Urawa to pull one back when the goalkeeper bungled a punch from a corner and Yuki Muto scrambled the loose ball over the line.
Evergrande’s record signing Jackson Martinez was among those to go close in an open game, but it was Urawa who had the final say when Koroki buried his shot when teed up by Zlatan Ljubijankic’s lay-off.
It was another unproductive night for China’s big-spending clubs as Shandong were floored by a second-half blitz from free-scoring FC Seoul.
Adriano grabbed the opener in the 27th minute as the visitors took control, only for Shandong’s Jucilei to equalise against the run of play on 62 minutes.
But Shandong’s goal drew the most emphatic of responses from FC Seoul, who were back in front in just three minutes and 4-1 ahead six minutes after that.
Go Yo-Han restored Seoul’s lead, before Dejan Damjanovic put them further ahead and Adriano finished a sublime team move which sliced through Shandong’s shaky defence.
FC Seoul had earlier totted up wins of 6-0 over Buriram United and 4-1 against Sanfrecce Hiroshima – with Adriano scoring seven of the goals – to assert themselves as the Asian club competition’s form team.
FC Seoul lead group F with nine points, three ahead of Shandong.
Takuma Asano scored twice as J-League champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Thailand’s Buriram United 3-0 to pick up their first win in group F.