Seoul salvages draw with late penalty in ACL
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Rafael Costa’s stoppage-time penalty helped FC Seoul salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima in a dramatic finish to Tuesday’s Asian Champions League Group F encounter.
The Japanese J-League champions gave away two late penalties to let 2013 ACL finalist Seoul back into the match. Takuto Hayashi saved Osmar Barba’s shot from the spot in the 89th minute but wasn’t able to stop Costa’s shot into the left corner.
Hiroshimo led for most of the match, with Gakuto Natsuda opening the scoring from close range in the 20th before Yun Ul-lok leveled the scores 10 minutes into the second half.
Unmarked defender Hwang Seok-ho scored from the edge of the area in the 71st as the visitors regained the lead, but Seoul hit back after Kazuhiko Chiba was adjudged to have committed a foul as his team defended a cross into the area and Costa held his composure to convert the penalty.
The draw kept Seoul and Hiroshima in second spot with a win and two draws apiece, one point behind Central Coast Mariners.
Marcel Seip’s goal and Liam Reddy’s second-half save helped Central Coast beat Beijing Guoan 1-0 and move a step closer to a spot in the knockout stage.
The Mariners conceded a penalty when Brent Griffiths brought down Beijing’s Joffre Guerron in the area. Reddy, who made a desperate save just before halftime to deny Shao Jiayi a goal, scrambled to save Zhang Xizhe’s shot from the penalty spot to keep the match locked at 0-0 in the 69th minute.
The home team regained momentum immediately and Dutch defender Seip capped it off four minutes later with a well-taken volley, his first goal for the Mariners.
In Group H, Guizhou Renhe earned its first win of the campaign at the expense of top-place Ulsan, ending the South Korean club’s 14-match unbeaten run in the ACL.
Chen Zijie scored twice in the 3-1 victory, his first was an equalizer in the 38th minute after Ulsan forward Yoo Jun-soo had given the 2012 champions the lead.
Qu Bo put Guizhou ahead seven minutes after the break and Chen sealed the result in the 81st minute with his second goal.
Ulsan has seven points, one clear of Western Sydney Wanderers and Kawasaki Frontal.
Frontale scored twice in the last 16 minutes for a 2-1 win over the Wanderers. Labinot Haliti opened the scoring for Western Sydney in the 24th when he headed in Dean Heffernan’s corner kick at the far post, but captain Kengo Nakamura equalized for the hosts with a deflected shot from the right and Ryota Oshima’s shot from 25 yards secured the win with two minutes remaining.
The biggest winning margin of the night was in Group D, where Saudi club Al Hilal had a thumping 5-0 win over former champion Al Sadd of Qatar.
Striker Nassir Al Shamrani posted the first hat-trick in the ACL this season, scoring the last three goals after Al Hilal had gained a 2-0 lead by the 28th minute.
Al Hilal moved to five points with its first win in the group and is one behind leader Al Ahli, which had 0-0 draw with Iranian side Sepahan.
In Group B, Foolad edged Bunyodkor 1-0 and Al-Jaish beat Al Fateh 2-0. Tractor Sazi was held to a 2-2 draw by Al Ain in Group C.
Match Day Four continues Wednesday with action in Groups A, C, E and G.