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A fortuitous late goal saw Guangzhou Evergrande earn a 2-1 win over Shandong Luneng, while Kashima Antlers beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
AFC Champions League Review: Guangzhou Evergrande squeeze through, Kashima Antlers' title defence continues
Kashima Antlers' AFC Champions League defence continued after they did just enough to progress, as did Guangzhou Evergrande.
A quickfire double from substitute Sho Ito gave Japan's Kashima Antlers a 2-1 home win over Shandong Luneng on Wednesday, taking the holders into the Asian Champions League knockout stage.
Marouane Fellaini's late header put Shandong Luneng into the AFC Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 win over Gyeongnam FC on Wednesday, as Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande were left on the brink of elimination.
Reigning Asian champions Kashima Antlers slumped to a shock 1-0 home defeat by Gyeongnam FC Wednesday on a great night for South Korean sides against Japanese opposition the AFC Champions League.
Marouane Fellaini said that he did not move from Manchester United to China "for a holiday" after scoring the winner on his debut for Shandong Luneng on Friday.
Spending may have slowed in the Chinese Super League, which kicks off a new season on Friday, but clubs are still splashing out on salaries to lure big-name players.
Manchester United announced on Friday that midfielder Marouane Fellaini has left the club to join Chinese Super League team Shandong Luneng.
China's football association has handed a one-game ban to Shandong Luneng's Brazilian midfielder Diego Tardelli for rubbing his face during the Chinese national anthem before a game.
The Chinese Super League (CSL) is in the throes of the most closely contested title race in its history with just three points separating the top four as they approach the home straight.