Tianjin held at home by Guangzhou

AFP
Guangzhou Evergrande nullified the twin threat of Alexandre Pato and Anthony Modeste to earn a 0-0 draw at Chinese rival Tianjin Quanjian in the AFC Champions League.
AFP

Guangzhou Evergrande nullified the twin threat of Alexandre Pato and Anthony Modeste to earn a 0-0 draw at Chinese rival Tianjin Quanjian in the AFC Champions League last 16 last night.

Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou will return home for the second leg next Tuesday as slight favorite to progress following a dreary game lacking poise and invention.

But it might have been even better for the reigning Chinese Super League champion and two-time ACL winner had Brazil winger Alan not blazed the ball over early in the second half when a rare opportunity arose for the visitors.

At the other end, France striker Modeste saw a header saved soon after half-time and wasted the hosts’ best opportunity on 72 minutes when he shot wide and high when clear through on goal.

Guangzhou goalkeeper Zeng Cheng then made a double save from former AC Milan starlet Pato and Modeste.

But the duo otherwise showed little, and when they did, Cannavaro’s side successfully snuffed them out — and not always fairly.

The 30-year-old Modeste, on loan from Cologne in Germany, was booked in the first period for an elbow when going up for a challenge.

He was on the end of some roughhouse treatment, too, Guangzhou defender Kim Young-gwon earning a yellow card for clattering into him.

If Cannavaro’s plan on the return to his previous employers was to ruffle Tianjin’s foreign stars, it worked.

Yu Hanchao was the next to go into the referee’s book after he raked his studs down the calf of Tianjin’s Belgium international Axel Witsel.

In the other last-16 tie, Buriram United beat Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea 3-2 in Thailand in their first leg.

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