Guangzhou Evergrande came from a goal down to earn a 2-1 victory over Gamba Osaka and take a slender advantage in their AFC Champions League semi-final.
Goals from Huang Bowen and Zheng Zhi were enough to secure a first-leg lead for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side, although a Feng Xiaoting own goal gives Gamba hope.
Having threatened early on, the Japanese side went ahead after 12 minutes as Patric pressed Feng to turn Hiroyuki Abe’s cross past his own goalkeeper.
Patric wasted a chance to double the visitors’ lead four minutes later and he was made to rue that miss as Guangzhou fought back and equalised nne minutes before the interval.
A superbly weighted pass from Paulinho picked out the run of Huang inside the penalty area and the forward exquisitely volleyed first time past Masaaki Higashiguchi.
Scolari’s side continued to pose a threat in front of goal with Zheng Long and Zheng Zhi both going close, but the latter made no mistake just before the hour with a superb header.
The midfielder timed his run to perfection to meet Elkeson’s left-wing cross, his towering header giving Higashiguchi no chance and putting Guangzhou on the verge of their second final in three years.