Guangzhou lead charge into AFC Champions League last 16

By Afp

Published: 15:21 GMT, 21 April 2015 | Updated: 15:21 GMT, 21 April 2015

Guangzhou Evergrande led a trio of teams into the AFC Champions League last 16 on Tuesday but Western Sydney Wanderers' title defence was left hanging by a thread.

Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou needed only a 0-0 draw against FC Seoul to qualify top of Group H and reach the knock-outs alongside Suwon Samsung and Al Hilal.

But the Wanderers suffered a harsh blow when Mu Kanazaki scored in injury-time to secure a 2-1, come-from-behind win which dragged Kashima Antlers off the foot of the table.

Japan's Kashima Antlers socred in injury time to beat 2-1 Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers in the AFC Champions League match on April 21

Japan's Kashima Antlers socred in injury time to beat 2-1 Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers in the AFC Champions League match on April 21 ©Saeed Khan (AFP)

With one group game left, against Guangzhou, the Australian side are now bottom of Group H, a point adrift of FC Seoul and Kashima and with their grip on the title slipping.

The Wanderers won the competition in a fairytale debut last year and they seemed to have kept their unconvincing trophy defence alive with Nikita Rukavystya's strike on 24 minutes.

But Kashima pressed relentlessly for the equaliser and they got their breakthrough on 66 minutes, when Shoma Doi curled home a priceless goal which kept them in the competition.

Kashima kept on coming and they were rewarded with a deserved win when Kanazaki converted Shuto Yamamoto's penetrating cross in the first minute of injury time.

A home win against FC Seoul in a fortnight’s time would send Kashima through, while Western Sydney need to win at Guangzhou and hope Kashima and Seoul draw.

In Group G, Brazilian substitute Kaio grabbed a late winner as Suwon eliminated Urawa Red Diamonds 2-1 and advanced to the knock-out rounds.

Zlatan Ljubijankic put Urawa ahead after 69 minutes, but Ko Cha-Won headed the two-time Asian Club Championship winners level before Kaio's clincher two minutes from time.

Beijing Guoan could have joined Suwon in the knockout rounds but they lost 1-0 at home to Australian champions Brisbane Roar, through Andrija Kaluderovic's goal in the first half.

Despite the defeat, the Chinese side remain three points ahead of Brisbane and will go through if they avoid defeat on their visit to Suwon for their final game.

Meanwhile, former Asian champions Al Hilal advanced from Group C after the Saudi club beat Lokomotiv 2-1 thanks to second-half goals by Nawaf Al Abid and Abdullah Zori.

Nikita Rukavytsya (L) of Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers celebrates scoring against Japan's Kashima Antlers in their AFC Champions League match on April...

Nikita Rukavytsya (L) of Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers celebrates scoring against Japan's Kashima Antlers in their AFC Champions League match on April 21, 2015 ©Saeed Khan (AFP/File)

South Korea's Suwon Bluewings midfielder Ko Cha-Won (L) scores against Japan's Urawa Reds in their AFC champions league group match on April 21, 2015

South Korea's Suwon Bluewings midfielder Ko Cha-Won (L) scores against Japan's Urawa Reds in their AFC champions league group match on April 21, 2015 ©Toshifumi Kitamura (AFP)

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