Seoul (AFP) – Title-holders Kashima Antlers pulled off one of the AFC Champions League’s great comebacks as they scored twice in injury time to beat Gyeongnam FC 3-2 on Tuesday.
Takeshi Kanamori scored in the 91st minute and Serginho struck superbly in the 93rd to snatch a stunning win after Kashima were 2-0 down with 15 minutes left and then had a man sent off.
Gyeongnam’s Woo Ju-sung headed the game’s second own goal to give the Japanese visitors hope at 2-1, but it looked like mission impossible when Tomoya Inukai saw red with six minutes left.
However, Kanamori’s close-range volley and Serginho’s sizzling shot on the turn stole victory as the Group E table-toppers moved to nine games unbeaten in the competition.
Second-placed Shandong Luneng maintained pressure with a 2-1 win over Johor Darul Ta’zim, and Cedric Bakambu scored a hat-trick as Beijing Guoan beat Buriram United 3-1 for their first victory in Group G.
A niggly first half in rain-soaked Changwon ended with Kashima goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae being stretchered off after an inadvertent stamp by Gyeongnam’s Lee Kwang-jin.
Kashima’s Inukai was yellow-carded for elbowing Lee but there was worse to come for the defender on 56 minutes when he dived to direct a header low and into his own goal.
Ko Kyung-min hit the post for the hosts before English midfielder Jordon Mutch’s volley from a corner put them 2-0 up and on course for an upset with 19 minutes to play.
Gyeongnam defender Woo Ju-sung scored the game’s second own goal, again from a header, to make it 2-1 but Kashima’s hopes of a comeback were rocked when Inukai received a second yellow card.
However, Kanamori poached the equaliser on 91 minutes, and two minutes later Serginho’s turn-and-shot fizzed into the top corner to seal a thrilling comeback.
In Jinan, Shandong’s expensive imports made the difference as Marouane Fellaini’s near-post header and Graziano Pelle’s penalty — his fifth goal of the competition — handed the Chinese Super League side a 2-1 win over Johor.
But the goal of the game was the consolation strike from Safawi Rasid, who cut inside on 59 minutes and curled one left-footed into the top corner.
Beijing’s Bakambu scored twice in the first half-hour and once after the break as he stole the show against Buriram, while Adriano’s 77th-minute winner put Jeonbuk Motors top of Group G as they beat Urawa Reds 1-0.
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