GUANGZHOU, CHINA – Japanese interest in the Asian Champions League ended Wednesday as Kashiwa Reysol failed to overturn a sizable first-leg deficit and were knocked out in the semifinals by China’s Guangzhou Evergrande after a thumping 4-0 defeat.
After last week’s crushing 4-1 home loss, Kashiwa was left with a mountain to climb in order to become the first Japanese team to reach the final since Gamba Osaka in 2008.
But it was not to be as goals from Elkeson, Dario Conca and Muriqui (two) secured an 8-1 aggregate victory and booked Marcello Lippi’s side a date in the final with either Iran’s Esteghlal or FC Seoul, who were playing in a later match with Seoul leading 2-0 from the first leg.
Reysol were put on the back foot right from the opening whistle as Elkeson fired just wide on two minutes before finding space in the box to bring a fabulous save out of Takanori Sugeno.
Elkeson had the ball in the net with a 14th-minute header, only for the goal to be ruled out for an infringement. But there was nothing wrong with his opener moments later, the Brazilian slamming home with his left foot after controlling a left-wing corner.
Zhang Linpeng then rattled the Reysol woodwork with a 25-meter screamer on 20 minutes, just after Junya Tanaka had forced Zeng Cheng into action at the other end.
Jorge Wagner and Kim Chang-soo both tested Zeng as Reysol enjoyed sporadic spells of pressure in the second half, but a comeback never really looked on the cards and Conca made it 2-0 in the 57th minute, powering in Rong Hao’s right-wing cross.
Muriqui struck twice with a pair of clinical finishes in the last 11 minutes to complete the demolition.