Kashiwa Reysol face an uphill task progressing beyond the AFC Champions League quarter-finals after slumping to a 3-1 defeat to Guangzhou Evergrande at home.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Chinese Super League champions stormed to a dream start in the first leg at Kashiwa Stadium as Reysol skipper Daisuke Suzuki unwittingly scored an own-goal, heading his interception beyond Takanori Sugeno, in the fifth minute.
The Reysol custodian was then helpless to prevent former Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Paulinho from curling a magnificent 40-yard free-kick into the top corner of the net five minutes before the break.
Attempts to pull a goal back after the restart proved futile for Tatsuma Yoshida’s men, and Gao Lin soon headed in Evergrande’s third to give the visitors a commanding lead.
Reysol kept persevering though, and grabbed a consolation via Masato Kudo in the 89th minute to keep alive a slim chance of progressing when they travel to Tianhe Stadium for the second leg clash on September 15.