AFC Champions League: Group F live-blog – FC東京 (FC Tokyo) v. 北京国安 (Beijing Guoan FC)

FC Tokyo and Beijing Guoan line-up before their 2012 AFC Champions League match on 14 April. The Gas would go on to a comfortable 3-0 victory to retain their lead on goal difference over Ulsan Hyundai, with a result that almost certainly seals their qualification for the Round of 16 (Image courtesy of On The Gas)

0 Min: Welcome to today’s AFC Champions League live blog, featuring action between Group H sides FC Tokyo and Beijing Guoan. FC Tokyo can take a major step in advancing to the knock-out stages of the competition if they can secure a victory, but it won’t be easy against the 2011 Chinese Super League runners-up, who lost only five matches and conceded just 21 goals on their way to second place behind champions Guangzhou Evergrande. I’ll have team news for you very shortly.

0 Min: FC Tokyo – Shiota; Tokunaga, Morishige, Jang, Ota; Ishikawa, Yonemoto, Hasegawa, Otake; Tanabe, Watanabe

0 Min: Substitutes – Tokizawa; Maruyama, Mukuhara; Hanyu, Yazawa; Hirayama, Lucas

0 Min: Beijing Guoan – Hou Sen; Yu Yang, Zhou Ting, Lang Zheng, Zhang Xinxin; Darko Matic, Xu Liang, Zhang Xizhe, Wang Xiaolong, Piao Cheng; Reinaldo

0 Min: Substitutes – Bai Ziaolei; Jiao Zhe; Wang Changqing, Zhang Ziaobin, Zhu Yifan; Kaluderovic, Mao Jianqing

0 Min: The players are out on the pitch at the Ajinomoto Stadium on a relatively mild night in Tokyo, readying themselves for an interesting tie – the previous encounter was drawn 1-1 at the Workers Stadium.

1 Min: The match kicks off almost precisely at 11:30 BST/19:30 JST, FC Tokyo commencing proceedings.

3 Mins: Naohiro Ishikawa takes the first shot of the match, 25 yards out and to the left of the penalty area, but it is well clear of goalkeeper Hou Sen’s cross bar for the Gas midfielder.

5 Mins: A chance for Kazuma Watanabe, Naohiro Ishikawa interchanging passes with Sotan Tanabe and releasing the forward, but his shot across the angle from the right of the six yard box is too close to Hou Sen’s body, and it’s collected easily by the Guoan goalkeeper.

7 Mins: FC Tokyo dominating possession in the opening minutes, and the Gas have a free-kick midway inside Guoan territory in a central position.

7 Mins: GOAL! Kazuma Watanabe rises to direct Naohiro Ishikawa’s free-kick just inside the post. An accurate set piece from Ishikawa, drifting the ball into the penalty area from right to left, but there will be question marks over just how easily Watanabe beat Zhou Ting to the cross.

7 Mins: FC Tokyo 1 Beijing Guoan 0

9 Mins: Guoan have a chance to equalise straight away. Xu Liang lobs a pass into the FC Tokyo penalty area, which is directed to a waiting Reinaldo by Wang Ziaolong, but Masato Morishige does just enough to ensure the Beijing forward fails to connect with his shot.

11 Mins: A long pass out of defence by Morishige to Sotan Tanabe just fails to find his run.

13 Mins: A period of possession for the visitors, but little pressure, as the pressing of the FC Tokyo midfield forces them to play backwards on two occasions. The spell ends with Reinaldo fouling captain Morishige.

14 Mins: A shot from distance for Xu Liang, but the effort is a considerable distance off target.

18 Mins: A lovely chested pass from Kazuma Watanabe finds Naohiro Ishikawa, and he releases Yohei Otake on the left. Crossing from the touchline, his pull back fails to find an FC Tokyo player.

20 Mins: Yohei Otake clips a ball through a gap formed by two Beijing Guoan players, and Sotan Tanabe uses his heel to send himself through on goal. His clever touch is just a little too strong, and it runs through for a goal kick.

22 Mins: Midway into the first period, Wang Xiaolong is booked for a late challenge from behind on Takuji Yonemoto.

23 Mins: A very good throw from goalkeeper Hou Sen finds defender Zhou Ting in space on halfway, but he fails to control and the ball rolls away for an FC Tokyo throw.

24 Mins: So close to a second goal for the Gas. A wonderful turn from Yohei Otake allows him space in the Guoan midfield, and he beats two players before delivering a pass to Sotan Tanabe. He fires a pass low across the six yard box, and a sliding Naohiro Ishikawa sends his shot just wide into the side netting.

26 Mins: Another excellent cross from Sotan Tanabe is headed out for a corner.

27 Mins: Ishikawa’s corner is cleared by a Reinaldo header, but the ball is quickly returned and a drive from Yohei Tokunaga is deflected out for a second corner.

27 Mins: Tanabe’s corner is cleared away from danger, failing to clear the first defender. A good period of pressure for the Gas.

30 Mins: With half an hour gone, it’s still FC Tokyo 1 Beijing Guoan 0.

32 Mins: Xu Liang is fouled by Kazuma Watanabe, but the player’s reaction is entirely at odds with the infringement.

33 Mins: A solid piece of defending from Masato Morishige forces Piao Cheng to give away a goal kick.

35 Mins: Darko Matic gives away a free kick, bringing down Takuji Yonemoto just inside halfway. There are some reckless challenges being made by Guoan at the moment. Matic goes into the book subsequently for a high foot in which he connects with Yonemoto’s chest.

36 Mins: Some excellent one and two touch football from the home team, the ball making its way to an overlapping Yuhei Tokunaga, but his touch is just too strong and he narrowly fails to pull his cross back into the penalty box.

37 Mins: Only excellent defending prevents FC Tokyo scoring again. A superb ball from the heart of midfield by Aria Hasegawa finds Kosuke Ota on the left edge of the penalty area, and Kazuma Watanabe heads narrowly wide, Yu Yang placing just enough pressure on the forward to prevent him directing the ball on target.

40 Mins: Five minutes of normal time remain in the first half, and Ranko Popovic will certainly be happy with his team’s performance thus far. He won’t be happy with Hitoshi Shiota, however, whose attempted clearance ends in an air shot, and it may have embarrassed the goalkeeper had he been in front of goal rather than to the right of his net.

42 Mins: Aria Hasegawa strongly holds off an attempted challenge, and his incisive pass to Naohiro Ishikawa nearly releases the midfielder one-on-one with Hou Sen, the ball just a little too heavy for Ishikawa to control.

45 Mins: One minute of added time in the first period, and a comfortable half for the Gas.

45 Mins+1: GOAL! Another lovely pass from Aria Hasegawa, curled along the right touch line, is controlled by Kazuma Watanabe, who advances to the touchline. With little support, he turns inside an easily beaten Yu Yang, and his chipped ball across the face of the goal is headed in from close range by Yohei Otake.

45 Mins+1: FC Tokyo 2 Beijing Guoan 0

HT: Otake’s finish was the last touch of an excellent first half from the Gas, which ends in even better fashion than expected as they take a 2-0 advantage into the dressing room, and on the balance of play it is a thoroughly deserved scoreline.

45 Mins: Reinaldo pushes the ball forward and the second half commences.

45 Mins: Just a note of interest that both first choice goalkeepers are absent for FC tokyo and Beiing Guoan today. Shuichi Gonda was injured early on in the defeat against Kashima Antlers, while Yang Zhi is also currently out of action for the visitors.

47 Mins: Worries for FC Tokyo as Takuji Yonemoto goes down and stays down after an innocuous challenge, and he is removed from the field of play on a stretcher. A potential dislocated shoulder for the midfielder? The Gas are temporarily down to ten men.

49 Mins: Tatsuya Watanabe is waiting on the sidelines to replace the injured Yonemoto. Yohei Otake is then asked to leave the field for a blood injury, motioning to his coaches and medical staff that he received an elbow to the face.

51 Mins: Loud jeers greet the Beijing Guoan players any time they are in possession. Piao Cheng has the first clear sight of goal for the visitors, clever play from Reinaldo putting the attacking midfielder through on goal, but his shot from 10 yards is into the body of a well-positioned Hitoshi Shiota.

55 Mins: GOAL! A sensational pass from a falling Naohiro Ishikawa reaches substitute Tatsuya Yazawa in the left channel. Yazawa still has plenty to do, but he beats two Guoan defenders and allows the ball to run across the six yard box before calming finishing from six yards. FC Tokyo find the third goal which you would expect would settle this match.

55 Mins: FC Tokyo 3 Beijing Guoan 0

59 Mins: Should the scoreline remain the same, it is the perfect reaction to the surprise home defeat to Kashima Antlers on 14 April.

60 Mins: Yazawa nearly makes it four with a diving header. Hasegawa directs a ball to Naohiro Ishikawa on the right, and Yuzawa’s header is narrowly wide of the right post.

60 Mins: Beijing Guoan make their first substitution, Reinaldo replaced by Kaluderovic, shortly followed by Zhang Xiaobin for Xu Liang.

61 Mins: In between those substitutions, Sotan Tanabe is booked.

63 Mins: Guoan have a free-kick in a dangerous area, Hasegawa bringing down Piao Cheng. Paio Cheng will take the set piece four yards outside the area, but instead of attempting a shot on goal, he attempts to deceive the FC Tokyo wall, playing the ball to his left. Instead it’s quickly blocked and cleared.

64 Mins: Zhou Ting this time has a free kick from 40 yards, and his ball into the 18-yard box box is comprehensively dealt with by the FC Tokyo defence.

65 Mins: In a clear sign of FC Tokyo’s dominance, they have had 10 shots to Guoan’s two.

66 Mins: Three quarters of the way through this match, and it is still FC Tokyo 3 Beijing Guoan 0.

66 Mins: A free kick from the left touchline is taken by Zhang Zixhe, and Jang Hyun-Soo heads the ball against Zhang Xiaobin for a goal kick.

69 Mins: Yohei Otake guides a free kick from the FC Tokyo right into the Guoan penalty area, headed on by Masato Morishige but then cleared by the Beijing defence.

71 Mins: Mao Jianqing is the third and final substitute for Guoan, and it is Wang Xiaolong who makes way. FC Tokyo also readying a substitute.

73 Mins: Tatsuya Yazawa steals down the left hand side, and passes to Yohei Otake. His first touch, however, is too heavy as he ran inside the penalty area, and it is out for a goal kick.

75 Mins: Kazuma Watanabe is the player to be replaced, Sota Hirayama coming on with 15 minutes of the match remaining.

77 Mins: Kosuke Ota gives away a free kick on the right touchline, which is whipped in by Zhou Ting, and Shiota is forced to make his first save of the match, diving to his left to parry away a header from substitute Kaluderovic.

80 Mins: Only 10 minutes left in this match, and this has been a very convincing performance from the Gas.

81 Mins: Yohei Otake allows himself to be booked for kicking the ball way. A silly yellow card to give away.

83 Mins: The match is starting to peter out, the third goal having killed off any hopes of a Guoan revival.

86 Mins: The small contingent of away supporters think they have a consolation. A loose pass in the FC Tokyo midfield allows Mao Jianqing to find space on the right, and his low cross into the penalty area is fired home by Kaluderovic. However, he’s clearly offside, and the goal is correctly ruled out.

88 Mins: FC Tokyo ready to make their final substitution, Yuichi Maruyama waiting to come on.

90 Mins: Into added time at the Ajinomoto Stadium, of which three minutes will be played.

90 Mins+2: Aria Hasegawa has played very well in midfield today, and he is part of a move which frees defender Yuhei Tokunaga, who is brought down just outside the penalty area. Xhang Xiaobin is shown a yellow card for the challenge. Sotan Tanabe meanwhile makes way for Yuichi Maruyama.

90 Mins+3: Aria Hasegawa heads the ball wide from close range from a well struck free-kick. To be fair to the midfielder, it was very difficult to adjust his body position to a ball hit with such power.

90 Mins+4: The referee blows his whistle to bring this match to an end.

FT: FC Tokyo 3 Beijing Guoan 0

FT: FC Tokyo remain at the top of the group following their 3-0 win, while group rivals Ulsan Hyundai are still behind only on goal difference having beaten Brisbane Roar 2-1 at the Suncorp Stadium. The Gas face the Australian side next on 2 May, while they travel to South Korea on 16 May for what is a potential group decider.

FT: Thank you for joining me. A full match report will follow later today.


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