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Guangzhou Evergrande's Elkeson celebrates after scoring their second goal in a win over Vissel Kobe. Photo: Reuters

Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG bounce back in AFC Champions League

  • Fabio Cannavaro’s side get revenge on J League side Vissel Kobe with 2-0 win to leave them a point from knockouts
  • Fellow Chinese Super League team bounce back from defeat with 2-1 win over Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos
Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG both got their AFC Champions League knockout stage hopes back on track on Saturday night with two wins for the Chinese Super League clubs.

Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou, twice winners of the tournament, took full advantage of an experimental Vissel Kobe side after the J League outfit made wholesale changes following their win when the same teams met in midweek.

That game ended 3-1 to Vissel Kobe who secured their place in the round of 16. They sit top of this three-team group, made up by South Koreans Suwon Samsung Bluewings, after Malaysian champions JDT were not allowed to travel to Doha.

Saturday’s game saw Cannavaro’s side win 2-0, Evergrande’s first win over Japanese opposition in eight meetings, to leave the twice champions of Asia every chance of joining debutants Vissel Kobe in the next stage.

The opener came courtesy of Anderson Talisca in the 17th minute with the Brazilian making no mistake from the spot after winning the penalty. The initial chance came from a loose ball from Vissel goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura.

Another dead ball sealed the win, Elkeson – also known as Ai Kesen since naturalising to play for China – fired home a free kick after 36 minutes. Cannavaro’s side meet bottom side Suwon on Tuesday to wrap up their group stage and a point will seal their second round status.

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In Saturday’s later game it was more good news for the CSL as Shanghai SIPG bounced back from their own disappointment midweek with a win over Yokohama F Marinos.

The J League side, who won 1-0 on Wednesday, were also much changed but that takes nothing away from Vitor Pereira’s side, who were missing Hulk following his tantrum after being substituted in that last game.

It mattered not as Cai Huikang opened the scoring, heading home a Chen Binbin cross at the back stick after 15 minutes, though Ado Onaiwu levelled just six minutes later.

SIPG retook the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Ricardo Lopes and Oscar combined to open up the Yokohama defence and Lopes kept his head to pass the ball home past Powell Obinna Obi.

The Shanghai side can book their ticket to the second stage with a point against hapless Sydney FC on Tuesday, while a point for Yokohama will eliminate K-League champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Fellow Chinese Super League outfit Beijing Guoan have already qualified for the knockouts.