Penalty drama as Chinese giants Evergrande reach Asia's last eight

Zhong Yihao netted the decisive spot-kick as Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande reached the Asian Champions League quarter-finals after a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out against Shandong Luneng on Tuesday.

Brazil international Paulinho scored twice as the second leg ended 4-4 on aggregate after extra time, but it was Zhong who struck the killer blow as Evergrande shaded their Chinese rivals 6-5 on penalties.

The 2013 and 2015 winners reached the last eight alongside reigning champions Kashima Antlers, who squeezed past fellow Japanese side Sanfrecce Hiroshima courtesy of the away goals rule.

Evergrande were in the driving seat after their 2-1 home win in last week's first leg, and Paulinho put them on cruise control when he struck in the 13th minute.

The ex-Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was on hand to stab home the rebound when Yang Liyu's shot cannoned off the base of the post.

However, Shandong's high-pedigree strike force was yet to have a say and former Premier League favourites Marouane Fellaini and Graziano Pelle led the charge as they fought their way back in the second half.

After Pelle had a header tipped over, substitute Zhou Haibin got the breakthrough from the resulting corner when he nodded home at the back post in the 62nd minute.

Eight minutes later, Fellaini showed his quality when he controlled the ball on his chest and shot on the turn, firing Shandong into a 2-1 lead.

At 3-3 on aggregate and an equal number of away goals, it forced extra time and it was Shandong who struck again when Liu Junshuai scrambled the ball in after a goalmouth melee.

But Paulinho curled a pinpoint free kick to leave it 4-4 on aggregate and set up penalties, which went to 5-5 before Evergrande's Liu Dianzuo saved from Cui Peng, opening the door for Zhong who kept his cool to net the winner.

- Moment of madness -

Earlier, in Hiroshima, Shoma Doi scored in each half as Kashima lost 3-2 on the night but finished 3-3 on aggregate, going through with their two away goals which followed last week's 1-0 win at home.

The title-holders came under sustained pressure before Doi gave them the lead against the run of play when he pounced on a weak defensive header 12 minutes before half-time.

Sanfrecce got a lifeline when Tomoya Inukai headed into his own net on 63 minutes, before Sho Sasaki smashed a second goal for the home side at the near post.

But at 2-1 on the night and with the aggregate scores level, Sanfrecce goalkeeper Hirotsugu Nakabayashi needlessly got himself sent off when he rushed out and brought down Doi near the centre circle.

And in the final minute, as Sanfrecce poured forward in search of a third goal, Doi made them pay when he launched a raking, first-time shot from distance into an empty net.

Brazilian forward Patric scored an injury-time penalty to make it 3-2 to Sanfrecce but it wasn't enough for the hosts as Kashima celebrated reaching the quarter-finals for the third time in their history.

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