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Guangzhou's Zeng thwarts Tianjin Quanjian in Asian Champions League stalemate

Paulo Sousa' and Tianjin were frustrated by good goalkeeping.

Tianjin Quanjian's Anthony Modeste and Alexandre Pato were denied by Guangzhou Evergrande goalkeeper Zeng Cheng as Paulo Sousa's side were held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Asian Champions League round-of-16 tie on Tuesday.

Zeng pulled off a fine double save to deny the pair late in the second half at the Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, with the second leg to come next week.

"Today's game was very balanced and I believe the away game will be the same," Sousa said. "I believe we can score goals in Guangzhou.

"I just hope the number of goals we score will help us advance to the next round."

Alan Carvalho, banned for eight league games after elbowing Tianjin's Liu Yiming last month, returned to the Guangzhou starting lineup but was in profligate form.

And with Zheng Zhi missing in midfield, Guangzhou lacked cohesion despite their marked improvement in the second half.

Guangzhou coach Fabio Cannavaro said: "We created a lot of chances and led on every statistic, but unfortunately we didn't score.

"Our opponents had a few opportunities and their most skilful players, like Modeste and Pato, had some decent efforts, but our goalkeeper performed very well.

"The next game is at our home stadium and we'll need the players to be more focused, like they were in the second half today. The important thing is that we create opportunities."

Thailand's Buriram United sprang a surprise with a 3-2 win over Jeonbuk Motors at the Thunder Castle, but could regret the South Koreans' late second away goal when the teams meet again next week.

Edgar Silva headed home an early opener and Buriram held that lead until five minutes into the second half when Ricardo Lopes levelled.

Diogo's curling free kick put Buriram back in front before Silva claimed his second, but Jeonbuk gave themselves a lifeline when Son Joon-ho smashed the ball home from eight yards.

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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