AFC Champions League: Kashiwa Reysol 1 Guangzhou Evergrande 4
By Football News
Guangzhou Evergrande enjoyed a convincing 4-1 first-leg victory over Kashiwa Reysol in their AFC Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
Marcello Lippi's runaway Chinese Super League leaders produced a stunning second-half display to come from a goal down at the break and seize the initiative in the tie ahead of the second leg on Saturday.
It was a familiar face that gave the hosts the lead at the Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium, with Cleo scoring from Jorge Wagner's free-kick after 10 minutes.
The Brazilian is on loan from Evergrande but his parent club quickly demonstrated why they are on the verge of clinching their third consecutive domestic title.
Lippi's side have lost just once in the league all season and scored four times after the interval, drawing level 13 minutes into the second half courtesy of Muriqui's 10th goal of the tournament following a failed Naoya Konda clearance.
Dario Conca then completed a brace, courtesy of a long-range strike and a deflected corner, to move the visitors two goals clear before Muriqui scored his second of the game a minute into injury time.
The winners of the tie will face either Seoul or Esteghlal in the final, with the former taking a 2-0 lead into the second leg.
Evergrande are bidding to become the first Chinese club to reach the final of the competition since Dalian Wanda in 1998.