Sports

Guangzhou Evergrande lose but are into AFC Champions League quarter-finals

Guangzhou Evergrande are one step closer to repeating last year's celebrations on winning the AFC Cahmpions League title, after beating Cerezo Osaka 5-2 on aggregate and moving on to the quarter-finals. – AFP pic, May 13, 2014.Guangzhou Evergrande are one step closer to repeating last year's celebrations on winning the AFC Cahmpions League title, after beating Cerezo Osaka 5-2 on aggregate and moving on to the quarter-finals. – AFP pic, May 13, 2014.Guangzhou Evergrande kept on course to defend their AFC Champions League title as they blazed into the quarter-finals with a 5-2 aggregate win over Cerezo Osaka on Tuesday.

Marcello Lippi's Chinese champions lost 1-0 on the night, courtesy of a Liao Lisheng own goal, but Cerezo never looked likely to bridge the 5-1 deficit conceded in last week's first leg.

Guangzhou, now in their third straight AFC quarter-final, join Pohang Steelers in the last-eight draw after the 2009 champions beat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-0 to win 3-1 on aggregate.

Guangzhou hardly needed to exert themselves after last week's impressive win, but Italy international Alessandro Diamanti nearly extended their advantage when he floated a shot against the bar.

Zhao Xuri also cannoned the ball off the leg of Cerezo goalkeeper Kim Jin-Hyeon when he slid onto a cross at point-blank range.

Guangzhou had an injury concern over Brazilian striker Muriqui, last year's tournament top-scorer, who went off and was replaced by Gao Lin.

Cerezo were battling gamely, despite the absence of star forward Diego Forlan, who had earlier been named in Uruguay's World Cup squad, and they could easily have gone ahead in the first half.

Jumpei Kusukami had a shot well saved by Guangzhou keeper Zeng Cheng, while Tatsuya Yamashita fired over the bar from close range after a corner.

Just after half-time, the visitors' hopes flickered when defender Liao Lisheng, intercepting a dangerous low cross from Ryo Nagai, could only direct the ball into his own net.

But there was little more to come from Cerezo, save an offside goal from Nagai in the final minutes, and a jubilant Tianhe stadium was soon able to celebrate another Asian quarter-final spot.

Earlier in Pohang, Kim Seung-Dae settled the home side's nerves when he scored in just the sixth minute.

Any hopes that Jeonbuk, the 2006 Asian champions, would mount a revival receded when Choi Bo-Kyung was sent off nine minutes before half-time. – Afp, May 13, 2014.