ACL: Ricardo Goulart nets four as Guangzhou Evergrande rally for win
Ricardo Goulart claimed four goals in the second half to ensure Guangzhou Evergrande bounced back from an early two-goal deficit to pick up their first win of the 2018 Asian Champions League on Tuesday evening with a 5-3 victory over South Korea's Jeju United.
Jin Sung-wook and Magno Cruz gave Jeju a two-goal lead inside the first 29 minutes before Guangzhou's pressure, which had seen them hit the bar twice in the final minutes of the half, paid off when Alan Carvalho struck four minutes into injury time.
That goal sparked Evergrande into life with Goulart pulling his side level seven minutes into the second half, and the Brazilian put his side in front of the first time in the game when he converted form the spot in the 57th minute after Gao Lin had been upended.
Goulart completed his hat trick in the 86th minute and, two minutes into injury time, the Brazilian scored with an outrageous chip that put the result beyond any doubt. Lee Chang-min's thunderbolt strike seconds later for Jeju was nothing more than a consolation.
"I always tell my players that our own performance is the most important part of the game, no matter what," Cannavaro said. "However, it seems that our players don't wake up until they've been punched once or twice. We can't always be losing 0-2 and then start to get ourselves together.
"It's not because the players are not focused and I don't know why every shot from our opponents became a goal.
"I think we should have won our first two matches and we should have nine points. But this is football. If you don't score, nothing will happen."
The win moves Guangzhou, who struggled in their opening two games of the campaign, into pole position in Group G, one point clear of Buriram United from Thailand, who notched up a surprise 2-0 win over Japan's Cerezo Osaka.
Tianjin Quanjian, meanwhile, had no answer to the physical presence of Jeonbuk Motors' Kim Shin-wook, with the towering South Korea international claiming a hat-trick as Paulo Sousa's side crashed to a 6-3 defeat against the two-time champions.
The Chinese Super League side took the lead 10 minutes into the game Zhang Cheng, but Jeonbuk eventually hit their stride and handed Tianjin a thrashing.
Kim pulled his side level with a header in the 24th minute and Han Kyo-won bullet header into the top corner three minutes before the break gave Jeonbuk the lead for the first time.
Ricardo Lopes put Jeonbuk 3-1 up before Kim added his second when he bundled the ball over the line on the hour mark. Just four minutes later he completed his hat trick to put the home side 5-1 up.
Choi Bo-kyung completed the scoring for Jeonbuk before Zhao Xuri and Alexandre Pato netted in the final 11 minutes to add some respectability to the scoreline for Tianjin.
"Our opponent threatened us with long balls into the middle and that's how they scored," said Sousa. "We had prepared well to face this in the first and we were doing quite well while the score was 1-0.
"At 1-1, [Anthony] Modeste had a good chance to score but after that Jeonbuk took their chances. They used their height and control in the air to put lots of pressure on us.
"They know how to use their tactics well and they also know how to take advantage of having more people in the area. But I hope we will defend better in the next game."
Despite the defeat, Tianjin sit in second place on four points at the halfway point in Group E, with Jeonbuk well clear on nine points after winning all three of their games so far.
Tianjin are level on points with Japan's Kashiwa Reysol, who picked up a 1-0 win over Hong Kong's Kitchee, thanks to Junya Ito's second-half goal.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch