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AFC Champions League

Guoan Look certain to advance After ACL Draw Against Urawa

Beijing Guoan remain unbeaten in this season’s AFC Champions League after drawing with Urawa Red Diamonds. The capital side top the group with ten points and look certain to move onto the round of 16, leaving Urawa little hope of advancing as they sit bottom with one point and only two matches left.

AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP G

Urawa Red Diamonds 1

Tomoaki Makino 74′

Beijing Guoan 1

Yu DaBao 33′

Before the match Urawa manager Mihailo Petrovic described the match as a must win. His side put in a good effort, but the side from Beijing always looked favourites even when reduced to 10 men.

The match felt more like a home one for Guoan as a large group of supporters made their way over to Japan. At the beginning of the match the only chanting heard was that in Mandarin.

Swedish striker Erton Fejzullahu almost gave the travelling support a dream start as he was played in on goal. Amazingly all he could think of doing was softly passing the ball to Urawa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa. Fejzullahu was headed alone for goal again in the 32nd minute, but once again was turned away resulting in a corner.

Guoan were able to capitalize as Xu Yunlong headed the corner down onto the left foot of Yu Dabao who made no mistake. The former Dalian Aerbbin striker made it his second goal against Urawa Red Diamonds in as many matches. The summer signing is proving to be a great addition in Champions League play.

The goal inspired some fight in the Red Diamonds as a scramble in the Guoan box gave midfielder Yosuke Kashiwagi a shot from four yards out. Beijing keeper Yang Zhi made a good reflex save to keep the score 1-0 until half time.

The second half started slow until in the 74th minute Urawa scored off a corner. The ball was whipped in by Toshiyuki Takagi and defender Tomoaki Makino rose high enough to make a perfect header into the corner of the Guoan net. Yu Dabao almost made an immediate reply in the 77th minute when his header hit off the post and Nishikawa smothered the ball.

A wrestling match almost broke out in the 87th minute as a clothesline by Lang Zheng to former Southampton striker Tadanari Lee saw Guoan reduced to 10 men. Zheng did strike Lee, but the reaction from Lee was worthy of Hulk Hogan. Lee had a chance to play hero in the last minute however his header flew over the bar.

Guoan will be disappointed with not getting the full three points though not as much as Urawa who seem all but out. Urawa next host Suwon Samsung Bluewings while Guoan host Brisbane Roar, both matches will take place on April 21st.

Urawa Red Diamonds: 1 GK Nishikawa Shusaku, 4 DF Nasu Daisuke, 5 DF Makino Tomoaki, 8 MF Kashiwagi Yosuke, 11 FW Ishihara Naki(22 MF Abe Yuki 72’), 14 MF Hirakawa Tadaaki(24 MF Sekine Takahiro 46’), 16 MF Aoki Takuya, 19 FW Muto Yuki, 20 FW Lee Tadanari, 33 DF Hashimoto Wataru(31 FW Takagi Toshiyuki 65’), 46 DF Moriwaki Ryota

Beijing Guoan: 4 DF Zhou Ting, 6 FW Zhang Xiaobin(17 MF Pablo Batalla 78’), 8 FW Piao Cheng, 11 MF Song BoXuan(2 DF Li YunQiu), 13 DF Xu YunLong, 18 DF Lang Zheng, 19 FW Yu DaBao, 21 FW Erton Fejzullahu, 22 GK Yang Zhi, 29 FW Shao JiaYi(10 FW Dejan Damjanovic 65’), 31 DF Zhao HeJing

Adem has lived in China a few years spending most of them in Beijing. The capital provides all the football one could ask for. Adem’s knowledge of Chinese cursing and geography were all learnt through watching matches.

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