Evergrande keeps Asian Champions League title defense alive
Apr. 19, 2016
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande kept its Asian Champions League title defense alive Tuesday with a 2-0 win at Pohang Steelers.
Ricardo Goulart gave the Chinese Super League club the lead in the 33rd minute and Gao Lin doubled it just after halftime, helping Evergrande to its first win of the tournament in Group H.
Anything but victory at the Steelyard would have put Evergrande, coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari, out of contention.
The result ensured Australian club Sydney FC will advance to the Round of 16. Sydney leads the group with nine points and has two games to play, including a home match against Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday. A win for Urawa in Sydney would eliminate both Evergrande and Pohang in the preliminary stage.
In Group G, Shanghai SIPG secured the top spot with a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory, with two goals in two minutes late in the first half swinging momentum firmly in favor of the Chinese club. SIPG is coached by Sven Goran Eriksson.
It was SIPG's fourth win in the group stage and ensured it cannot be overhauled. Victory, which was eliminated from the Australian A-League playoffs last weekend after conceding two late goals to Brisbane Roar, is still in contention with six points ahead of its last game against 2008 champion Gamba Osaka.
Brazilian striker Santos scored two second-half goals in South Korean club Suwon Bluewings's 2-1 win over Gamba, moving equal with Victory. Gamba, a semifinalist last season, is out of contention.
In the west zone, Al Ahli kept its hopes of advancing alive with a 4-1 win that ended El Jaish's impressive start in Group D.
El Jaish has 10 points and was assured a spot in the next round earlier when Al Ain was held to a 1-1 draw by Nasaf. Al Ain has seven points, one ahead of Al Ahli with one match to go.
In Group C, Iranian club Tractor Sazi secured top spot with a 2-0 win over 2014 finalist Al Hilal on neutral turf in Doha.
Cameroonian striker Aloys Nong scored in the 66th minute and helped set up Farzad Hatami's late clincher to ensure Tractor cannot be overhauled for top spot after four wins from five matches. Tractor and Al Hilal, on eight points, meet again May 3 at Muscat.
Pakhtakor moved to within a point of Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal in the tussle for second spot with Igor Sergeev scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Al Jazira.