Woe for Cannavaro as Tianjin Quanjin boot out Evergrande

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Fabio Cannavaro’s hopes of continental glory were ended by former side Tianjin Quanjian as Guangzhou Evergrande were eliminated from the AFC Champions League Round of 16 on away goals following a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.

Following a goalless stalemate between the two Chinese Super League rivals in last week’s first leg, it was Cannavaro’s Evergrande who opened the scoring at the Tianhe Stadium in the 17th minute.

There appeared to be relatively little danger when Alan Carvalho fired away a shot from the left but opposition keeper Zhang Lu parried it straight at Ricardo Goulart, who watched on in delight as the ball ricocheted off his shin and nestled into the back of the net.

But, just two minutes later, the visitors levelled the scores when Axel Witsel’s inch-perfect cross towards the back post was met by Alexandre Pato with a fine header past Zeng Cheng.

Two-time ACL winners Evergrande then reclaimed the lead three minutes into the second half, when Goulart was somehow left unmarked inside the six-yard box despite having three defenders in close proximity to nod home Li Xuepeng’s corner.

Nonetheless, Quanjian once again managed a quick response in the 52nd minute as a lofted freekick from Pato was helped on by Wang Yongpo into the danger area, where Wang Jie was on hand to sweep the ball home from close range for what ultimately proved to be the goal that sealed their place in the quarter-finals.

GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE: Zeng Cheng, Zhang Linpeng, Feng Xiaoting, Kim Young-gwon, Li Xuepeng (Yu Hanchao 77’), Zheng Zhi, Nemanja Gudelj, Huang Bowen (Zhang Wenzhao 64’), Gao Lin, Alan Carvalho, Ricardo Goulart.

TIANJIN QUANJIAN: Zhang Lu, Zhang Cheng, Liu Yiming, Wang Jie (Wang Xiaolong 87’), Kwon Kyung-won, Mi Haolun, Zhao Xuri, Wang Yongpo (Yang Xu 90+1’), Axel Witsel, Anthony Modeste (Su Yuanjie 81’), Alexandre Pato.