Modeste, Pato win it for Tianjin in Champions League drama

Wednesday March 14 2018

Kim Jin Su (right) of Jeonbuk Hyundai fights for the ball with Zhang Cheng of Tianjin Quanjian during their AFC Champions League group stage match in Tianjin on March 14, 2018. PHOTO | AFP

Kim Jin Su (right) of Jeonbuk Hyundai fights for the ball with Zhang Cheng of Tianjin Quanjian during their AFC Champions League group stage match in Tianjin on March 14, 2018. PHOTO | AFP  

By AFP
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SHANGHAI

Anthony Modeste and Alexandre Pato hit quick-fire late goals as big-spending Tianjin Quanjian beat Jeonbuk Motors 4-2 to breathe fresh life into their AFC Champions League campaign on Wednesday.

Prolific marksman Modeste, on loan from Cologne in Germany, fired home to give the ambitious Chinese side a priceless lead over the South Koreans and Brazilian forward Pato put gloss on the result deep into injury time.

With two rounds of matches to play in the group stage of Asia's top club competition, Tianjin are second in Group E, with the top two going into the last 16 knockout phase.

Jeonbuk still head the group, even with this first defeat in four matches, but see their lead at the top trimmed to two points.

Tianjin boast the likes of former AC Milan starlet Pato, Belgium international midfielder Axel Witsel and Frenchman Modeste, who was a regular scorer in the Bundesliga before moving to China last summer.

Modeste set up Wang Yongpo to give the home side the lead on eight minutes, only for Kim Shin-wook to equalise for the visitors from South Korea.

Zhang Cheng put Tianjin ahead again on 55 minutes, but Adriano pegged the Chinese Super League (CSL) side back once more 12 minutes later.

An entertaining clash looked destined to end in stalemate before Modeste popped up in the 84th minute to score, then Pato made it 4-2 when Modeste again turned provider on the break in added-on time.

On a good night for Chinese teams in the Champions League, Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande took a large step towards the last 16 with a comfortable 2-0 win over Jeju United of South Korea.

The Brazilian Alan scored one goal and made another — a cracker by the Serbian midfielder Nemanja Gudelj — as the CSL champions made light work of their hosts.

Italian World Cup winner Cannavaro did not enjoy the best start as coach of Evergrande, his side drawing their first two games in Group G.

But they beat Jeju 5-3 at home last week and were never in trouble in the return in South Korea.

Winger Alan threw off four weak home challenges before setting up Gudelj to thrash in from outside the box on 27 minutes.

Ten minutes later Alan, who has never been called up for the senior Brazil team, nipped in from close range to head home for 2-0.