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FC Tokyo’s Oliveira is fouled by Qin Sheng of Shanghai Shenhua in their AFC Champions League group F match at the Education City Stadium in Qatar. Photo: EPA

AFC Champions League: Shanghai Shenhua on brink as Beijing cruise into last 16

  • Qin Sheng tackle causes controversy in 2-1 loss against FC Tokyo that leaves Shanghai side with all to do in final group games
  • If they qualify they could meet Beijing Guoan, whose 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory put them in knockouts
Beijing Guoan became the first Chinese Super League team to qualify for the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League with a 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory in Doha, Qatar.

Bruno Genesio’s side could face CSL rivals Shanghai Shenhua in the next round, although their hopes of qualifying took a dent with a 2-1 loss to J.League side FC Tokyo.

Shenhua’s game proved controversial for the behaviour of midfielder Qin Sheng, whose reckless challenge five minutes after the break saw Tokyo’s Oliveira stretchered off the pitch.

The Japanese side took the lead 10 minutes later through Leandro, who stroked home from a Keigo Higashi through ball. Shuto Abe doubled the lead with eight minutes left, scoring from a Taichi Hara cut back.

Gio Moreno pulled one back for Shenhua on his return from injury, netting from a Liu Roufan centre, but it was too little too late

Qin’s late tackle, which did not warrant a red card in the eyes of referee Mohanad Qasim Eesee Sarray, created the biggest headlines after the game and he was given the nickname “Killer King” on the Chinese-language version of Wikipedia.

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Choi Kang-hee’s side also welcomed striker Kim Shin-wook back along with Moreno – both players came on with 30 minutes to go, when Qin was taken off – and they will need all their firepower to leapfrog Tokyo and join group leaders Ulsan Hyundai in the knockouts.

“The game was lost, but our players made it to the end,” Choi said after the game. “We are now in a very difficult situation with many injuries. Although the situation is so difficult, we still have to play well in the next game.”

Shenhua play Australia’s Perth Glory, who beat they in the opening game, on Monday before meeting the South Koreans.

They could meet Beijing Guoan in the knockouts after the Beijingers cruised to the second stage.

First-half goals from Jonathan Viera and Zhang Yuning put the result beyond doubt after 35 minutes. Their remaining two games, against South Korea’s FC Seoul and Thailand’s Chiangrai United, are now dead rubbers.