Suwon Bluewings held by Kashima

South Korean side relinquish lead against Japan's Kashima as Nagoya Grampus beat FC Seoul in Asian Champions League.

    Suwon celebrate their lead, only for Kashima to draw level six minutes later [AFP]

    South Korea's Suwon Bluewings blew a second-half lead at Tokyo's National Stadium as they drew 1-1 with Japan's Kashima Antlers in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday.

    Kashima were playing in their first game on home soil since the devastating earthquake that hit Japan last month, and the Group H clash took place earlier in the day to avoid using floodlights, as part of Japan's energy saving drive.

    In other games, J-League champions Nagoya Grampus dominated FC Seoul 2-0 in Group F, putting them at the top of the group and in the driving seat for advancing to the knockout stage.

    Meanwhile, Sydney FC got back on track with their Asian campaign with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Shanghai Shenhua in Group H.

    Group D leaders Zobahan moved to the verge of advancing with a 1-0 victory over Al-Rayyan of Qatar, who are last with one point. The Iranian team are unbeaten and five points clear of third-place Al-Shabab, who lost 2-1 to second-tier UAE club Emirates.

    Group B leaders Al-Sadd of Qatar drew 1-1 at Al-Nassr to stay three points clear of the second-place Saudi club. Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor beat Esteghlal 2-1 to draw level with the Iranian team, four points behind Al-Sadd.

    Drawing level

    Suwon took the lead three minutes after half time thanks to midfielder Yeom Ki-Hun's direct free-kick, which flew into the top corner.

    But Kashima were level six minutes later when Yuzo Tashiro scored following a Takuya Nozawa free-kick.

    Kashima appeared to have made it 2-1, but forward Shinzo Koroki's strike was ruled offside. Koroki also blazed over in the dying seconds.

    Antlers' Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira said: "I expected them (Suwon) to play defensively and try to draw. I think they did as they planned.

    "We missed two forwards and couldn't play our game. But we didn't give them many chances."

    Suwon coach Yoon Sung-Hyo said: "Our team was not 100 per cent because of injuries. I was disappointed that we failed to keep the lead, but I'm glad that we took a point from the draw."

    Kashima are expected to play all their home games at the National Stadium until June at the earliest. The J-League resumes this weekend.

    Suwon remain top of Group H on goal difference ahead of Kashima, with both sides on six points from four games.

    Nagoya victory

    In Seoul, Nagoya's Mu Kanazaki pounced on a rebound off a shot by Yoshizumi Ogawa and broke the deadlock in the 26th minute.

    From there, the Korean champions intensified the pressure. Seven minutes before the break, a Mauricio Molina corner bounced into the area and Oh Kyoung-jun had a close-range shot blocked by Takahiro Masukawa.

    Nagoya secured the win with eight minutes remaining thanks to a defensive blunder. Kim Tae-hwan's backpass toward the goalkeeper was stolen by Kensuke Nagai, who slid the ball into the net.

    In Shanghai, Sydney twice came from a goal down and sealed their first win of the tournament courtesy of a last-gasp winner from Mark Bridge.

    Shanghai's Jiang Jiajun put the host ahead after eight minutes before Bruno Cazarine cancelled out the strike during first-half stoppage time. An own goal by Scott Jamieson restored Shanghai's lead seven minutes into the second half but Cazarine struck again to tie the match.

    With the prospect of a tie looming, Bridge struck a dramatic winner, volleying Dimitri Petratos' header into the bottom corner to give Sydney three much-needed points. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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