Guangzhou Evergrande closes in on spot in Asian final

Updated: 2013-09-26 09:03


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KASHIWA, Japan - Guangzhou Evergrande took a step toward a place in the Asian Champions League final by coming from a goal down to beat Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol 4-1 in the first leg of ACL semifinals at the Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium Wednesday.

Cleo put Kashiwa ahead in the first half but four second-half goals for the Chinese visitors put them in control ahead of the second leg of the semifinals in Guangzhou on Oct 2.

Muriqui scored twice, Dario Conca added another and an own-goal by Kim Chang-soo completed the scoring for Evergrande, which is coached by Italian veteran Marcello Lippi.

The winner will face either FC Seoul or Iranian club Esteghlal in the final. FC Seoul beat Esteghlal 2-0 in the first leg.

Evergrande is the first Chinese team in the semifinals since Shenzhen Jianlibao made it that far in 2005.

Cleo, who is on loan from Guangzhou, was credited with giving Kashiwa the lead in the 10th minute following a free kick by Jorge Wagner.

Muriqui claimed his 10th of the tournament when he leveled in the 58th minute and Conca moved the Chinese champions ahead for the first time in the 67th.

An 82nd-minute own-goal by Kim and a stoppage-time strike by Muriqui means Kashiwa must win by four clear goals at Tianhe Stadium next week to become the first Japanese side to reach the final since Gamba Osaka won the title in 2008.

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