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Football: Conca the conqueror inspires Guangzhou rout

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Argentine wizard Dario Conca inspired Guangzhou Evergrande to a 4-0 win over Muangthong United and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Kashiwa Reysol also enjoyed big victories as goals flowed in the AFC Champions League Wednesday.

Guangzhou, the Chinese double-winners led by World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, were matched until the break by the battling Thais before Conca started a second-half rout with a 51st-minute header, and finished it with a coolly taken penalty in injury time.

In between, Brazilian forward Muriqui took a return pass on the edge of the box before planting a sublime second goal for Guangzhou, and midfield maestro Conca had a hand in Gao Lin's well-worked strike on 84 minutes in front of a packed house in southern China.

Guangzhou, the ambitious and deep-pocketed club with designs on becoming China's first Asian champions since 1998, inch forward to a two-point lead in Group F, ahead of Jeonbuk who rise to second after their 3-1 win over Urawa Red Diamonds.

In a clash of two of the tournament's former winners, Japan's Urawa got on the scoresheet early when Genki Haraguchi, capitalising on Tomoaki Makino's mazy dribble into the box, belted them in front on six minutes.

Haraguchi should have doubled the lead five minutes later, and Brazilian Marcio Richardes rifled just wide and then hit the post, as the home team went on the rampage. Haraguchi was also denied from a close-range header just before the break.

Yosuke Kashiwagi put it over the bar early in the second half but Jeonbuk came roaring back into it when Lee Seun-Gi buried a screaming strike, teed up on the edge of the box after a free-kick, on 51 minutes to level the scores at 1-1.

Substitute striker Lee Dong-Gook put the visitors ahead when he arrowed a diving header into the Urawa goal on 64 minutes, and Brazilian midfielder Eninho completed the win when he fired a swerving shot over Urawa's stranded 'keeper with 20 minutes to go.

However, Jeonbuk's flurry of goals was eclipsed in Suwon Bluewings' game against Kashiwa, where the Korean hosts missed three penalties during a crazy encounter which featured seven second-half goals.

Junya Tanaka put visitors Kashiwa ahead on 16 minutes but the game suddenly came alive in the second half when Dzenan Radoncic's penalty miss was followed by three goals in quick succession for 3-1.

Jong Tae-Se's fluffed penalty was then followed immediately by Tanaka's second strike to make it 4-1. Stevica Ristic finally scored a penalty for Suwon to for 4-2, but there was still time for another penalty miss as Ryoichi Kurisawa and Masato Kudo both grabbed their second goals to round off the scoring.

Earlier Australia's Central Coast Mariners, who had won only one of 14 previous ACL games, had looked set for further heartbreak against China's Guizhou Renhe after an own goal by goalkeeper Mat Ryan cancelled out Pedj Bojic's spectacular 50th-minute opener.

But with nine minutes left, New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey whipped in a tantalising cross for the unmarked Trent Sainsbury to head in at the far post and clinch a 2-1 win, lifting the Mariners to second in Group H behind runaway leaders Kashiwa.

"We made it real hard for ourselves," Mariners coach Graham Arnold said. "We should have been up 3-0."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130403/football-conca-the-conqueror-inspires-guangzhou-rout