FC Tokyo secured a valuable 1-1 draw against Beijing Guoan at the Workers Stadium, and it could have been more had referee Abdulrahman Hussain not astonishingly pointed to the penalty spot for an entirely inoccuous challenge by Hideto Takahashi on Wang Changqing, who appeared to make the most of the contact and collapsed in the penalty area. Takashi was subsequently booked and Changqing’s behaviour in celebrating his success unbecoming. Wang Ziaolong stepped up to take the 10th minute penalty kick and converted, despite Shuichi Gonda getting a hand to it.
The visitors netted a deserved equaliser just before the break, a quick exchange of passes between Masato Morishige and Naohiro Ishikawa teeing up Aria Hasegawa from 20 yards to strike first time left-footed beyond the dive of Yu Yang in the Beijing goal, silencing a crowd in excess of 31,000. Ishikawa had a chance to take all three points for the Gas, but running on to a cross he just couldn’t find the touch to divert the ball beyond Yang. The result means Tokyo top Group F on goal difference from South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai, both unbeaten on five points and three points clear from Guoan and Brisbane Roar with three matches remaining.
W Xiaolong 10′ (pen)
Kashiwa Reysol also drew with Chinese opposition, but found the going much more uncomfortable and will consider themselves fortunate to take a point after having been outplayed for large periods in the match against Guangzhou Evergrande. At times defending desperately, the Sun Kings escaped with a goalless draw, and will hope for a better performance when they face the Southern China Tigers at the Tianhe Stadium on 17 April. The liveblog for this match can be found here, and a full report and analysis will follow on 5 April.
|Kashiwa Reysol||0||G. Evergrande||0|
(Matches played 4 April 2012. Gamba Osaka and Nagoya Grampus played their respective Group E and G games on 3 April 2012)