Champions League is back

After taking a break I am back writing and along with myself, the Champions League is back in full swing. The final eight East Asian sides were locked in battle as they searched for a quarter-final place. Then after the first legs to it is all to play for with no team winning by more than the one goal. 

Kashima Antlers 1 - 0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Let's first go to the all J League tie with Antlers at home running out 1-0 winners over Hiroshima the side that has had a controversial campaign so far. This was to be a close match with the home side running out the winners in front of 13,179 at the Kashima Soccer Stadium.

The only goal of the match came on the 24th minutes from Brazilian Serginho. The goal came from a quick attack that left the away side flat-footed. 

Then both sides had chances to change the scoreline, the visitors had a couple of big opportunities to score too. These changes came from Daiki Watari who shot just wide while Douglas Vieira put the ball over when he should have done a lot better. 

In the end, it looked that the home side was happy to settle for the one goal and did this by frustrating the visitors. On 86 minutes it all got too much for Sanfrecce Hiroshima too as Sho Inagaki picked up a second booking. 

Guangzhou Evergrande 2 - 1 Shandong Luneng

Now then from an all-Japan encounter to an all Chinese match at the Champions League. This was a tie with the heavyweights of Chinese football Guangzhou Evergrande taking on the new boys to this level Shandong Luneng. 

The home side who have been champions of Asia twice before started the tightly contested match well. They were ahead too on 35 minutes and Paulinho who had a great match was involved in this goal also.  This was seen as he played the ball out right to Yang Liyu, before making a darting run to receive the return pass and dig a cross out from the byline.

The keeper in the away goal Wang Dalei flapped at Paulinho ball as the cross and the ball fell to the feet of Wei Shihao who had an empty net to put the ball in too. 

The away side kept pushing through in the second half and on 66 minutes they were level. Then with defenders Gao Zhunyi and Park Ji-Soo around Fellaini the Belgium international still managed to pick out  Zhang Chi and the player sent a bullet of a shot into the far corner. 

It seemed like the match could have been heading for a draw too, well that was still ten minutes from time when Zheng Zheng put the ball into his own net. 

This came through Yang's cross which took a cruel defection from Zheng Zheng, the goalkeeper then was beaten at his near post in very unlucky circumstances. 

The tie is still wide open and Shandong will be hoping they have a chance still when the sides meet in the second leg on Tuesday. 

Urawa Reds 1 - 2 Ulsan 

Then to Japan v South Korea as Urawa Reds took on Ulsan who have had a lot of plaudits this campaign. The match started well for the home side at the Saitama Stadium 2002 in front of a crowd of over 20,000. 

The home team took the lead on the 37th minute when Takuya Aoki floated a delightful ball into the area from outside the box, where it was met by a glancing header by Kenyu Sugimoto that perfectly crept inside the post.

The home team had the match level though before half time as Joo Min-Kyu got the goal for the visitors. This also came from a header this time from an excellent Kim Bo-Kyung cross. 

Next, with ten minutes left on the clock, the side from the K League took the lead. The goal came as Hwang Il-Su run through with no one picking him up and the midfielder then slotted the ball in the bottom corner from just outside the box. 

That was to be that and the sides will meet again next Wednesday for a chance of a place in the quarterfinal. 

Jeonbuk Motors 1 - 1 Shanghai SIPG

The last match was between two champions of East Asia as the K League league winners Jeonbuk took on the CSL holders Shanghai SIPG. 

The match started so well for the Koreans too as they were ahead within a minute. The goal came from a lovely Lim Sun-Young pass which found Moon Seon-Min just a few yards from goal and the player managed to slot home from a tight angle. 

The majority of the fans 20,000 at the Shanghai Stadium were back on their feet in celebration though before halftime. The goal came about after Bernie Ibini-Isei made an error as he headed the ball backwards and it landed to the feet of Yu Hai. 

The left-back made sure to take full advantage of this error too and crossed the ball on to the head Wang Shenchao who made no mistake from seven yards. 

Both sides then had chances to win it as Kim Shin-Wook fired just wide for the visitors before Hulk rounded the keeper only to hit the post from a tight angle. 

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