TOKYO: China’s Shandong Taishan scored a dramatic last-minute goal to move into the Asian Champions League quarter-finals after beating Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale 4-2 for a 6-5 aggregate victory on Tuesday.

Brazilian Jadson hooked the ball home in the seventh minute of added time to send the Chinese side into a last-eight showdown with either Thailand’s Bangkok United or Japan’s Yokohama F-Marinos.

Jeonbuk also advanced to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate win over fellow South Koreans Pohang Steelers after a 1-1 draw in the second leg.

Jeonbuk’s next opponents will be either Japan’s Ventforet Kofu or another South Korean side, K-League champions Ulsan.

Kawasaki beat Shandong 3-2 in last week’s first leg but the Chinese side roared out of the blocks with two early goals to take control of the return fixture in Japan.

Kawasaki hit back with goals either side of half-time before Brazilian Cryzan levelled the tie again with just over 15 minutes remaining.

Jadson then settled a madcap game deep into injury time to send the last Chinese team still in the competition through to the last eight.

Kawasaki have won the J-League four times in the last seven years but they have never gone further than the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League.

They twice threw away a two-goal cushion in the first leg and Shandong again looked sharp early in the return fixture.

Cryzan opened the scoring in the eighth minute when a defensive mistake by Takuma Ominami allowed Li Yuanyi to pick out the Brazilian for his seventh goal of the competition.

Shandong made it two in the 15th minute when a poorly taken Kawasaki corner set off a counter-attack that ended with Gao Zhunyi burying Valeri Qazaishvili’s cross.

Sota Miura pulled one back for Kawasaki when he charged into the box and lashed home a shot from a tight angle in the 30th minute.

Kawasaki’s second goal came almost 15 minutes into the second half when Erison scored from a rebound after team-mate Marcinho had hit the post.

But just when it looked like Kawasaki had dug themselves out of trouble, Cryzan struck from distance to level the tie again.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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