Four-goal Goulart gives Cannavaro first AFC Champions League win

Kashiwa Reysol register their first win in this year’s competition

GUANGZHOU: Guangzhou Evergrande’s Zheng Zhi (R) fights for the ball with Jeju United’s Ryu Seungwoo during the AFC Champions League group stage football match between China’s Guangzhou Evergrande and South Korea’s Jeju United in Guangzhou yesterday. – AFP

HONG KONG: Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande roared back from 2-0 down yesterday with four second-half goals from Ricardo Goulart completing a sensational AFC Champions League victory 5-3 over Jeju United.
On a night when it rained goals, Cannavaro’s former club Tianjin Quanjian were thumped 6-3 at 2016 winners Jeonbuk Motors, whose giant striker Kim Shin-wook bagged his first Champions League hat-trick.

Evergrande, the club who have declared they want to field an all-Chinese side by 2020, had to thank their two prolific Brazilian forwards for the victory over their Korean visitors. The Chinese champions found themselves 2-0 down after 29 minutes at the Tianhe Stadium to goals from Jin Seong-uk and Magno Cruz.

But Goulart’s goal spree thrilled the raucous home crowd after fellow Brazilian Alan’s opener deep into first-half stoppage time had given Guangzhou a lifeline. The 2006 World Cup-winning captain Cannavaro had endured a stuttering start at the southern Chinese city club since taking over from Luiz Felipe Scolari, who led Evergrande to a seventh successive Chinese Super League (CSL) title last year.

Evergrande drew both their previous Group G matches and lost their CSL opener 5-4 to derby rivals Guangzhou R&F on Friday. But they now lead Group G by a point from Thailand’s Buriram United, who enjoyed a 2-0 home win over Japan’s Cerezo Osaka courtesy of goals from Andres Tunez and Edgar Silva.

Last season Italian Cannavaro led Tianjin Quanjian to Champions League qualification and his former charges took a shock lead in the 10th minute in Jeonju when a partially cleared corner was volleyed home sweetly by right-back Zhang Cheng.
The towering Kim saw one header disallowed before the 6ft 6in (1.98m) target man rose in 24th minute to head the equaliser. Three minutes before half-time Jeonbuk were ahead courtesy of Han Kyo-won. Brazilian Ricardo Lopes swept home before Kim bagged two more to complete his hat-trick in the 64th minute and captain Choi Bo-kyung then found the net to make it 6-1. A late Zhao Xuri header and an Alexandre Pato penalty were only consolations for the visitors as Jeonbuk made it three wins from three matches to go five points clear at the top of Group E.

Kashiwa Reysol registered a first win in this year’s competition and join Tianjin on four points after labouring past Hong Kong’s Kitchee 1-0 in Japan thanks to Junya Ito’s 66th-minute winner. Kitchee remain rock bottom of Group E without a goal or a point so far in their debut AFC Champions League campaign but will have another chance when they host Kashiwa at Hong Kong Stadium next week. – AFP

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