Motors stun Guangzhou as Sepahan, Al Ahli progress
© AFP

Ex-Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-Gook scored twice in injury time to put ten-man Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on the brink of the AFC Champions League knockout stage in a dramatic night of action on Tuesday.

Lee's late heroics stunned Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande 3-1, while Kashiwa Reysol's 1-0 win over Buriram United gave all four Group H teams a chance of reaching the last 16 in their final pool games later this month.

Elsewhere, Central Coast Mariners defeated China PR's Tianjin Teda 5-1 to resurrect their campaign, while Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Nagoya Grampus played out a 1-1 draw to leave Group G also undecided.

Jeonbuk's win in Guangzhou was sweet revenge for last year's runners-up, who were humiliated 5-1 at home by the Chinese team and lost by the same score to Kashiwa, but who are now top of Group H after three wins in a row.

Guangzhou's record signing Dario Conca, reportedly one of the world's best paid players, put the hosts ahead with an early penalty before Lee Seung-Hyun levelled just before half-time. And 2006 champions Jeonbuk, fresh from clinching the K-League title, then shrugged off the dismissal of defender Cho Sung-Hwan, as Lee Dong-Gook netted in injury time and swiftly followed it up with a penalty.

There were more fireworks in the group as J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol downed Thailand's Buriram United 1-0, leaving all four clubs separated by just three points with one round to play. Kashiwa's goal came after 23 minutes when Hideaki Kitajima dribbled through to the left of the goal-mouth before sending in a cross that Brazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues netted in the right corner.

The hopes of Buriram, who had surprisingly topped the group for much of the campaign, took a dive when defender Yves Ekwalla Herman of Cameroon was sent off shortly before half-time for a second yellow card.

Jeonbuk, now two points clear on nine points, host Kashiwa and Buriram, who have dropped to the bottom of the table, entertain Guangzhou in the final crunch of group games on 15 May.

Mariners back at it
In Group G, Central Coast Mariners hauled themselves back into contention with a 5-1 beating of Tianjin Teda, the first win of their campaign, which simultaneously sent the Chinese club crashing to the foot of the table.

Veteran striker Daniel McBreen scored a first-half double and Josh Rose, New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey and Borussia Dortmund-bound Mustafa Amini weighed in after the break to put the Mariners one win from the last 16.

An away victory against second-placed Nagoya Grampus in their last game would secure progression for Australia's Mariners while Seongnam, top by virtue of their head-to-head record, travel to Tianjin. "It feels great to get that win," Amini said. "We were going for the jugular and got it, and now we're still in the competition."

Japan's Nagoya had a second-half own goal from Seongnam's Park Jin-Po to thank as they kept pace with the 2010 winners with a 1-1 draw away from home. Han Sung-wun had put the hosts ahead on 12 minutes.

Sepahan, Al Ahli progress
In later matches on the west half of the continent, Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal went top of Group D with a 1-0 win over Iranian side Persepolis, with Moroccan striker Youssef El Arabi firing home the second-half winner in Tehran. Al Hilal now lead Persepolis by one point. In the other group match Al Gharafa beat Al Shabab 2-1 in Doha.

In Group C, Iran's Sepahan inflicted a 3-0 rout on 10-man Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates. Bruno Cesar scored the opener before Sepahan's keeper Abdulla Moosa was sent off. Both sides then missed penalties before Xhevahir Sukaj and Mehdi Seyed-Salehi sealed an emphatic win. Saudi Arabian outfit Al Ahli defeated Lekhwiya by an identical scoreline with the two winners securing progression from the group.

The final group games will be played on 15 and 16 May with the two-legged Round of 16 starting a week later and concluding on 30 May.