KASHIWA, Japan (AP) — Fernando Menegazzo scored late in the first half Wednesday as Saudi club Al Shabab earned a 1-1 draw with Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals.
Japan international Masato Kudo put Reysol in front midway through the first half when he picked up a loose ball and scored from close range for his sixth goal of the competition.
Al Shabab equalized a minute before the break when Menegazzo volleyed into the top corner from 12 meters (yards).
The Saudis came close to sealing the win when Macnelly Torres hit the crossbar in the final minutes.
“I’d like to praise our players because they did a great job in our first official game of the season,” Al Shabab coach Michel Preud’Homme said. “We didn’t start well, but after we gave away the goal we responded very well and we created lots of chances, probably more than Kashiwa so in that sense we could have won the game.”
Al Shabab hosts the second leg in Riyadh on Sept. 18.
In Guangzhou, Dario Conca and Elkeson scored second-half goals to lead Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande to a 2-0 win over Qatari side Lekhwiya.
With 18 minutes remaining, Conca calmly beat goalkeeper Claude Amine from the penalty spot after the Argentine had been upended inside the area.
Elkeson, making his ACL debut, beat Amine four minutes later with a low strike. The Brazilian scored 20 goals in 21 Chinese Super League appearances this season.
The second leg is in Doha on Sept. 18.
Elsewhere, substitute Sultan Al Sawadi scored a late equalizer for Al Ahli as the Saudi club salvaged a 1-1 draw against K-League champions FC Seoul while Khosro Heydari scored just 90 seconds into the game to give Iranian champions Esteghlal a 1-0 win over Thailand’s Buriram United in Wednesday’s other quarterfinal.