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Paulinho helps Guangzhou advance in Asian Champions League

June 25, 2019

Paulinho led Guangzhou Evergrande into the last eight of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday with a 6-5 penalty shootout victory at Chinese counterpart Shandong Luneng.

The former Brazil and Barcelona midfielder scored both goals for Guangzhou in a 3-2 second-leg defeat after extra time that leveled the match at 4-4 on aggregate.

With Guangzhou leading 2-1 from the first leg, Paulinho’s first-half goal looked to be enough for the two-time continental champion. But Shandong came back after the break with strikes from Zhou Haibin and former Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini.

Liu Junshuai scored for Shandong early in extra time, putting his team ahead, but Paulinho scored his second goal after 103 minutes with a spectacular free-kick. With the away goal rule not applied after extra-time in Asian competitions, that goal took the game to a penalty shootout during which the Brazilian netted for a third time as Guangzhou squeezed past its domestic rival.

The away goal rule does come into effect after 90 minutes in Asia to the relief of Kashima Antlers in Tuesday’s other Champions League clash.

Defending champion Kashima lost 3-2 in the second leg at Sanfrecce Hiroshima in an all-Japanese game but, after a 1-0 win from the first game, joins Guangzhou in the last eight.

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