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AFC Champions League Wrap: Guangzhou, Esteghlal take first-leg leads

21 August 2013 23:50

Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande are on the brink of a historic AFC Champions League last-four appearance after beating Lekhwiya 2-0.

The Chinese Super League champions gave themselves every chance of reaching the semi-final for the first time after scoring twice in four second-half minutes in the first leg of their last-eight clash.

Dario Conca broke the deadlock after 72 minutes from the penalty spot after being felled in the area and Elkeson doubled his side's advantage with a low shot that snuck under goalkeeper Claude Amine.

It could have been worse for the Qatari side had Muriqui not slipped with the goal at his mercy late on.

Iranian champions Esteghlal enjoyed their first appearance in the quarter-finals of the competition in its current format as Khosro Heydari's early strike sealed a 1-0 win over Buriram United.

Esteghlal made the most of home advantage in front of a partisan crowd to make strides towards the semi-finals, although Heydari will rarely have scored a more fortuitous goal.

Less than two minutes had gone when the Iran international sliced an intended right-wing cross that eluded everyone and cannoned in off the post.

The tie is finely poised ahead of the second leg, but Esteghlal will travel to Thailand in buoyant mood.

Goals from Masato Kudo and Fernando Menegazzo meant Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol and Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab cancelled each other out.

Jorge Wagner also had an effort ruled out for offside and Macnelly Torres was denied by the crossbar.

Al Ahli, last season's runners-up, left it late to salvage a 1-1 draw with Seoul. Dejan Damjanovic gave Seoul a 10th-minute lead in Dubai only for Sultan Al Sawadi to net with nine minutes to go.

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