May 8, 2018 / 3:57 PM / 2 months ago

Soccer-Guangzhou held by Tianjin, Buriram surprise Jeonbuk

SINGAPORE, May 8 (Reuters) - Guangzhou Evergrande were held to a goalless draw by fellow Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian in the first leg of their Asian Champions League round of 16 clash on Tuesday as Thailand’s Buriram United edged Jeonbuk Motors in a five-goal thriller.

Buriram will take a one-goal advantage into the second leg in South Korea against the two-time winners following a 3-2 win at the Thunder Castle, but Son Joon-ho’s late goal ensured Jeonbuk will go into the second leg confident of advancing.

The Thai Premier League leaders took the lead in the sixth minute when Edgar Silva headed home Yoo Jun-soo’s floated cross but Ricardo Lopes levelled five minutes into the second half.

Diogo curled his free kick home from 25 yards out to restore Buriram’s lead on the hour mark and Edgar Silva scored his second when he slalomed through the Jeonbuk defence from the halfway line before slotting past Song Bum-kuen.

But just seconds into stoppage-time Son smashed the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards to give Jeonbuk a lifeline.

Tianjin, meanwhile, squandered several opportunities to take an advantage into the second leg against two-time champions Guangzhou Evergrande as Alexandre Pato and Anthony Modeste were denied by Evergrande goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.

“We created a lot of chances and led on every statistic but unfortunately we didn’t score,” Evergrande head coach Fabio Cannavaro said.

“Our opponents had a few opportunities and their most skilful players, like Modeste and Pato, had some decent efforts but our goalkeeper performed very well and saved them all.”

In the west Asian half of the draw, Boualem Khoukhi scored twice in the opening 28 minutes as Qatar’s Al Sadd handed Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia a 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Doha.

Mohanad Aseri’s goal two minutes into the second half ensured the Jeddah-based Al Ahli remain in contention for a place in the quarter-final draw.

Al Jazeera of the United Arab Emirates will take a 3-2 lead into the second leg of their meeting with last year’s semi-finalists Persepolis of Iran.

Ali Alipour put the Iranians in front with a header before goals from Ali Mabkhout and Romarinho took Al Jazeera ahead, only for Godwin Mensha’s re-taken penalty six minutes from time to level the scores.

Khalifa Al Hammadi’s deft header of Mbark Boussoufa’s free kick six minutes into stoppage-time means Al Jazeera will take a one-goal lead into the second leg in Tehran next week. (Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Ed Osmond)

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