AFC Champions League Review: Kashima and Guangzhou edge thrilling ties
Kashima Antlers survived a late fightback from 10-man Sanfrecce Hiroshima to clinch a place in the last eight of the AFC Champions League on away goals despite losing 3-2 on the night.
Go Oiwa's men went into the second leg of their round of 16 tie leading 1-0 and extended their advantage when Shoma Doi sent a sweetly struck shot into the net from the edge of the penalty area after 33 minutes.
Hiroshima steadied themselves and set about clawing their way back into contention, pulling a goal back after 66 minutes when substitute Patric beat Kwoun Sun-tae with a header that took a wicked deflection off Antlers defender Tomoya Inukai.
Sun-tae made a good save to deny Patric six minutes later but Hiroshima defender Sho Sasaki was on hand to sweep the ball home to make it 2-2 on aggregate and set up a tense finish.
The hosts were dealt a blow two minutes later, though, as goalkeeper Hirotsugu Nakabayashi was sent-off for bringing down Shoma Doi, who scored with a long-range strike on the counter-attack in the 89th minute to render Patric's late penalty nothing more than a consolation for Hiroshima.
FULL-TIME! | @sanfrecce_SFC 3-2 @atlrs_official (Aggregate 3-3*)— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) June 25, 2019
WHAT A GAME! Five goals, a red card and plenty of action. The holders Kashima into the last via away goals! #SANvKAS #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/eAgPyB4adY
There was more drama at Jinan Olympic Sports Center, where Guangzhou Evergrande needed extra-time and penalties to settle a 4-4 aggregate draw against Shandong Luneng.
The visitors arrived with a 2-1 lead in the tie and their nerves were settled when Paulinho put them 1-0 up on the night with simple tap-in after 13 minutes.
Shandong squandered numerous chances to respond before Zhou Haibin rose to head home a corner at the far post in the 62nd minute, and eight minutes later Marouane Fellaini scored to take the match into extra-time.
The hosts thought they had won it when Liu Junshuai got on the end of Gil's headed cross and rolled the ball home, but Paulinho levelled matters again with a deadly free-kick.
Both sides scored their first five penalties in the shootout, but Cui Peng's attempt was saved before Zhong Yihao lashed Guangzhou's sixth spot kick into the bottom left corner of the net to send his side through to the quarter-finals.
GAME-OVER | Shandong Luneng 3-2 (5-6 on penalties) Guangzhou Evergrande (Aggregate 4-4)— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) June 25, 2019
Guangzhou prove the coolest from the spot as they head into the quarter-finals after winning the penalty shootout! #SDLvGUA#ACL2019pic.twitter.com/6PKVBcSqSR