Luis Felipe Scolari has heaped praise on his players after they held Kashiwa Reysol to a 1-1 draw at the Tianhe Sport Centre Stadium on Tuesday to qualify for the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League.
Scolari’s Guangzhou Evergrande went into the match leading 3-1 on aggregate after a comprehensive win in the first leg of the quarter-final tie at the Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium last month.
That lead was narrowed early in the second leg when Brazilian striker Cristiano headed home after just 13 minutes, but the hosts managed to restore their two-goal cushion when midfielder Huang Bowen lashed a volley into the net in the 30th minute.
“The game went exactly as we expected. The quality of the game was good as Kashiwa are a strong team,” Scolari told the Asian Football Confederation website.
“We only played Shanghai SIPG at the weekend and we were struggling with our stamina, but Kashiwa still played very well and with quality and their performance was great.”
The 4-2 aggregate victory means Scolari’s charges are still in position to claim a domestic and continental double.
Evergrande defeated Shanghai SIPG 3-0 over the weekend to climb to the top of the Super League.
Huang, who was also part of the Evergrande side that won the AFC Champions League in 2013, said he was happy with the result but still hoped the team could improve.
“It was a difficult match against a respected opponent and we played a wonderful game,” he said
“Now we have qualified for the next round we will look to perform better in future games.”