Guangzhou held by Urawa Reds

Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande of China and Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds drew 2-2 in a frenetic Group H clash of the AFC Champions League at the Guangzhou Tianhe Sport Center on Wednesday.

In the group standings, Sydney FC are top on six points followed by South Korean side Pohang Steelers on four along with Urawa Reds. The champions, meanwhile, have two points and are still looking for their first win of this year’s campaign.

Ricardo Goulart scored twice for Guangzhou within the first 15 minutes but the Reds pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark through Yuki Muto before Shinzo Koroki got the equaliser in the dying moments of the match.

The home side made the perfect start to the match in the 6th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Mei Fang was fouled in the area by Zlatan Ljubijankic. Goulart stepped forward to score from the spot and give his side the early lead.

Minutes later, Guangzhou midfielder Paulinho was denied by a decent save from goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

In the 14th minute, the home side increased their lead as Goulart scored his brace when he turned in Jackson Martinez’s cross from six yards out to make the score 2-0.

Urawa were back in the game in the 30th minute when Guangzhou keeper Zeng failed to clear the ball punching it towards his own goal and Muto was there to score from close to make the score 2-1.

The visitors nearly equalised in the 40th minute when Tomoaki Makino’s free-kick was saved by a diving Zeng, and with 10 minutes remaining, Goulart almost scored when his angled shot went narrowly wide past the face of the goal.

The Reds weren’t done yet, however, and the equaliser came in the 89th minute when a cross from the left by Makino was pushed back to the onrushing Koroki, who scored from in front of goal to earn his side a point in dramatic circumstances.