Saitama (Japan), April 5 (IANS) Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande of China found themselves on the brink of elimination after a bitter 0-1 defeat to Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan in their AFC Champions League group H football match here on Tuesday.
Guangzhou’s only chance to qualify from the group is to win their last two matches, and hoping Urawa lose both of their matches, reports Xinhua.
Yuki Muto headed home from inside the box in the 52nd minute to gift the Japanese side a home victory. Urawa had a handful of chances to increase their lead in the second half, only to see Guangzhou goalkeeper Zeng Cheng refuse.
After Huang Bowen tested the Japanese ‘keeper with a right-foot curve in the opening fourth minute, Jackson Martinez missed the loose ball in the penalty spot.
In the 24th minute, Yuki Moto also had a chance to gift the home side lead but his long shot was denied by Zeng.
In the 37th minute, Ricardo Goulart’s effort was deflected by Urawa’s defender and narrowly went off the left post.
Guangzhou pushed harder after a goalless first half, only to see Paulinho hit the ball into the post in the 50th minute.
Urawa put their noses in front as Muto headed Tomoya Ugajin’s side-footed volley easily in the 52nd minute.
The Japanese side came close to doubling their lead midway through the second half when Tadanari Lee curled just wide from the edge of the area after receiving Muto’s ball from the left.
Urawa should have added another but Zeng saved twice with his feet, denying Sekine and Shinzo Koroki in the last 15 minutes.