Fri, Mar 21, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Guizhou end Ulsan’s 11-game run

AFP, ULSAN, South Korea

Al Sadd’s Nadir Belhadj, center, tries to fend off Al Hilal’s Yasser al-Qahtani, right, and Segundo Castillo in their AFC Champions League Group D match at the Jassim Bin-Hamad Stadium in Doha on Wednedsday.

Photo: AFP

Guizhou Renhe conjured a late equalizer on Wednesday to hold Ulsan Hyundai 1-1 and end the South Korean club’s record 11-game winning streak in the AFC Champions League.

Yang Hao nodded the Chinese visitors’ leveler four minutes from time to halt Ulsan’s extraordinary run of victories stretching back to their 2012 Asian title run.

Ulsan, who missed last year’s competition, entered the match at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium as the only team in the tournament with a 100 percent record.

They looked set to make it a 12th straight win when Brazilian forward Rafinha converted a 57th-minute penalty after being fouled by Guizhou skipper Sun Jihai.

Guizhou are bottom of Group H after losing their first two matches, but claimed their first point when Yang glanced home Sun’s cross from the right late in the game.

Despite missing out on the win, Ulsan are still unbeaten in 15 straight matches in the competition and stayed top with seven points.

However, the Western Sydney Wanderers are closing in on them, having moved to within a point of the group leaders when Labinot Haliti’s early strike earned the Australian side a 1-0 upset win over Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale on Wednesday and their second consecutive victory.

The Pristina, Kosovo-born striker scored after only three minutes, turning in Tomi Juric’s pass from close range to give the debutants their first-ever home victory in the competition.

In Group F, Beijing Guoan went first with a 2-1 home win over Australia’s Central Coast Mariners.

Veteran striker Shao Jiayi put the Chinese club ahead just seconds before halftime with an unstoppable low drive, before Nigerian striker Peter Utaka rounded goalkeeper Liam Reddy to make it 2-0 in the 63rd minute.

Eddy Bosnar and Glen Tifiro hit the woodwork for Central Coast before Utaka’s goal, but the Australian club pulled one back through a Nick Fitzgerald penalty with five minutes left.

However, Beijing hung on to claim their first win in the competition this season, putting them top of their group on five points, one ahead of Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima and FC Seoul.

Sanfrecce put themselves level on points with the South Korean side — last year’s runners-up — with a 2-1 home win that ended their frustrating, eight-game winless streak in the competition.

Tsukasa Shiotani netted the decisive goal for the J-League champions in the 78th minute, after Rafael Costa canceled out Yojiro Takahagi’s opener for the hosts.

In West Asia, 2011 champions Al Sadd of Qatar stayed on top of Group D with a 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, while United Arab Emirates side Al Ahli clinched their first win when they beat Iran’s Foolad Sepahan 2-1.

In Group B, Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor played out a 1-1 draw with Iran’s Foolad Kouzestan, while Al Fateh of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s El Jaish drew 0-0.

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