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Shandong Luneng beat Johor DT to top Group E in AFC Champions League

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-04-25 09:55
Shandong Luneng wins 1-0 against Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim in Group E of the 2019 AFC Champions League (ACL) in Johor, Malaysia on April 24, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

KUALA LUMPUR - Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng won 1-0 against Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim in Group E of the 2019 AFC Champions League (ACL) in Johor, Malaysia on Wednesday.

Italian striker Graziano Pelle handed Shandong the win after a close range shot in the 22nd minute, taking their second win in the group at the Larkin Stadium in Malaysia's Southern state of Johor.

Despite a strong start with Johor's Azrif Nasrulhaq making the first attempt, his shot went wildly off the mark, and with Pelle's success in the first half, the home team found itself unable to catch up.

Luneng's other players were unable to follow up on their first goal with Jin Jingdao having missed his chance to make it a 2-0 just minutes after the first goal, with his free shot flying straight at Johor's keeper, Izham Tarmizi Roslan.

Song Wenjie fared somewhat worse, failing to make an easy shot just 10 minutes before the first round ended.

Song made another attempt early in the second half but Izham was able to hold back the attempt before making another exceptional save against another attempt by Pelle just after an hour into the match.

Pelle did not let up and made another nearly successful attempt during the final minutes of the match, but his aim was slightly off.

Although topping the group after the victory, Shandong Luneng's head coach Li Xiaopeng remained cautious on the prospect of qualifying for the next round.

"We will get ready for the next match, if we cannot qualify from the group after the next match, we might not be able to achieve that at all," he said.

In another match of the group, South Korea Gyeongnam FC moved back into contention with a 1-0 win over title holders Kashima Antlers of Japan.

Gyeongmam made the breakthrough in the 63rd minute when Jordon Mutch's cross from the right was missed by Kwoun Sun-tae and Takahiro Kunimoto bundled the ball into an open goal at the far post.

During the next round, Kashima are away to Johor DT on May 8 while Shandong Luneng will face Gyeongnam.

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