Obafemi Martins and his Shanghai Shenhua teammates were kicked out of the AFC Champions League after drawing 2-2 with Kashima Antlers of Japan on Tuesday. Giovanni Moreno shot Shanghai ahead from the spot after 13 minutes and Mao Jianqing, an early replacement for Martins, headed home a second just before the half-hour.
But Yuma Suzuki and Leandro hit back for Kashima after the break to send the Japanese team into the knockout stages and Shanghai out of the tournament that sees 32 teams from around Asia divided into eight groups of four. Only the top two progress to the next round.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings stay second in Group H despite losing 4-1 at home to Sydney FC, a first win for the Australians in the tournament. Goals from Milos Ninkovic, Alex Brosque, Adrian Mierzejewski and Bobo delivered the points for the A-League champions who now move into third with five points, two behind Suwon with the final group game taking place on April 17.
It was a disappointing evening all-round for China as seven-time champions Guangzhou Evergrande failed to seal their progress to the second stage after being held to a 1-1 draw with Buriram United in Thailand.
Newsbreak.ng recalls that Martins had scored a hat-trick for Shenhua in their match against Hebei Fortune on Saturday. The former Inter Milan, Newcastle, Birmingham and Seattle Sounders forward had been tipped for an invitation to the Super Eagles' squad to the World Cup but has so far been overlooked by coach Gernot Rohr.