Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC beat 2-0 Pohang Steelers Tuesday night to keep their AFC Champions League hopes alive.
Before the match Pohang coach Choi Jin-cheul said his side would come out looking for a win. Pohang had a better chance of qualifying for the knockout stage before the match with Guangzhou looking all, but eliminated.
AFC Champions League Group H
Pohang Steelers 0
Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC 2
Gao Lin 47
Scolari had seemingly had a change of heart since his side’s 1-0 defeat to Urawa Red Diamonds. In the Urawa pre-match news conference he claimed if his side lost they were out of the champions league. Someone must have told him to not to be so down as when asked on Tuesday of his side’s chances he stated Guangzhou were still in it.
They had a tall task though as Jackson Martinez, Zhang Linpeng, Zheng Long, and captain Zheng Zhi were all out with injuries.
In the opening minutes a good chance came for Pohang as Lee Gwang-Hyuk was able to get inside the Guangzhou box. The young winger was able to get a pass off before Wang Shangyuan put the ball behind for a corner.
Guangzhou’s talented midfielder Paulinho was ever present in the first half. The former Spurs man had four chances, the worse miss being after a Goulart pass found him inches in front of the goal. All he could manage to do was hit the ball wide.
The miss was soon forgotten though as Goulart broke the deadlock. Gao Lin had a shot on goal in the 33rd minute that was going wide, but luckily Goulart met it at the back post to tap in.
At the start of the second half Gao Lin turned from creator to scorer as the 30 year old striker made a good run after the ball was played over the Pohang backline. Gao Lin’s weak shot was enough to trickle pass Pohang keeper Kim Jin-young who really should have done better.
Guangzhou fans had a few minutes of celebration as a scary moment in the 53rd saw Goulart taken off on a stretcher. Another injury to a key player will leave Guangzhou with a few options for their Chinese Super League away match at Tianjin this Sunday.
With Goulart off Li Yuanyi came on. Li was a winter signing from Portuguese side Boavista FC and immediately looked dangerous, volleying just wide in the 56th minute.
Pohang managed to put some effort in the dying moments, but the match was well over by then.
Guangzhou stay alive at least until tomorrow’s match between Sydney FC and Urawa. Pohang still are not mathematically eliminated yet either. Guangzhou next host Sydney FC on May 3rd while Pohang play away at Urawa. Whoever makes it out of group H could go down to the line.
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