Japanese raiders can earn draw in trip to Guangzhou
AFC Champions League
Twice champions Guangzhou Evergrande are 8-13 to beat Japanese side Kashima Antlers in the first knockout round of the Asian Champions League.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Chinese powerhouses could only finish as runners-up in Group G, hence having to play the first leg of this last-16 shootout on home soil at Tianhe Stadium.
They were, however, unbeaten in their group campaign with four draws to go alongside home-and-away hammerings of Hong Kong outfit Eastern.
Two of those stalemates – against Kawasaki Frontale and Suwon Bluewings – were at home and the draw might well be worth a punt in this match.
The Chinese Super League leaders, driven on by ex-Spurs midfielder Paulinho and with former Cruzeiro frontman Ricardo Goulart in the goals, are in sparkling form.
And Kashima Antlers are going through a sticky spell with back-to-back defeats in the J-League sending them tumbling to sixth spot.
Masatada Ishii’s reigning J-League champions do travel well, however. They have won six of their last seven road trips, including a stunning 4-0 romp at Korean side Ulsan earlier in the competition and a domestic 1-0 win at Urawa Reds, knocking them off the top of the table.
The Group E winners haven’t failed to find the net in any of their last 20 away matches and even allowing for Guangzhou’s pedigree – they’ve won six Chinese league titles on the bounce – the Japanese raiders will be confident of taking a positive result back to Kashima Soccer Stadium next Tuesday.
1pt 3-1 bet365, Betway