AFC Champions League: Luneng draw with Antlers as Evergrande lose to Daegu FC
CGTN

Former Italy international Graziano Pelle struck twice to earn Marouane Fellaini's Shandong Luneng a 2-2 draw with the reigning champion Kashima Antlers in AFC Champions League group stage second round on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Manchester United star Fellaini had a quiet game in midfield for the hosts, who had Pelle – another Premier League import – to thank for rescuing a point.

It was the 33-year-old Pelle's second brace in as many Champions League matches, having scored twice at South Korea's Gyeongnam FC last week. 

J-League side Kashima had looked set to run away with it, forward Sho Ito twice finishing slick team moves in the 10th and 14th minutes to stun Shandong. 

But the imposing Pelle, who joined the Chinese Super League side from Southampton for about 17 million U.S. dollars in July 2016, single-handedly dragged Shandong back into the match. 

Graziano Pelle (C) of Shandong Luneng vies for the ball during the AFC Champions League match against Kashima Antlers at Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Shandong, China, March 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

Graziano Pelle (C) of Shandong Luneng vies for the ball during the AFC Champions League match against Kashima Antlers at Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Shandong, China, March 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

He buried the penalty on 20 minutes after Kento Misao handled in the box and then arrowed the ball into the top corner four minutes before the break on the half-volley. 

The 31-year-old Fellaini, who left Manchester United for Shandong in the winter transfer window, had his head in his hands in the 65th minute after putting a free header over the bar following a corner. 

Leo Silva should have sealed victory for the Japanese side with two minutes left, but he mis-hit his first-time effort from close range with only goalkeeper Wang Dalei to beat. The entertaining stalemate leaves Kashima top of Group E with four points from two games. 

Shandong are second with two points after successive 2-2 draws. Gyeongnam travel to Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia later Tuesday in the other group game.

Evergrande suffer loss

Brazilian striker Edgar scored a first-half double (24' and 42') as newcomers Daegu FC stunned two-time former winners Guangzhou Evergrande 3-1 later on Tuesday.

Anderson Talisca pulled one back eight minutes after half-time by the assist from Wei Shihao for Evergrande.

The AFC Champions League match between Daegu FC and Guangzhou Evergrande, Daegu, ROK, March 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

The AFC Champions League match between Daegu FC and Guangzhou Evergrande, Daegu, ROK, March 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

But Kim Dae-won maintained the Korean side's 100-percent start in Group F when he rifled home their third goal from a tight angle with nine minutes to go. 

It was the first group-stage defeat in nearly three years for Evergrande, coached by Italian World Cup great Fabio Cannavaro, who also lost their seven-year grip on the Chinese Super League title last season. 

Elsewhere in Group F, Keisuke Honda's second-half strike couldn't prevent Melbourne Victory going down 2-1 to Sanfrecce Hiroshima for their second straight defeat.

Source(s): AFP