Scolari's men hold on to reach final


Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao's 0-0 draw with Gamba Osaka at the Expo '70 Stadium was enough for Luiz Felipe Scolari's men to reach the final of the AFC Champions League.

Ricardo Goulart and Elkeson got fine chances to gift the away side the lead before the break, but they failed to break the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes.

Again Elkeson wasted a major opportunity after the interval when he missed the target from 10 yards out.

Takashi Usami nearly made the guests pay for their profligacy after coming off the bench, but the Japan international was unfortunate not to find the net after a fine individual action as it remained scoreless.

Guangzhou were the first to threaten via Zheng Long, yet the winger blasted his shot over the bar from 20 yards out.

Ricardo Goulart came close to giving the visitors the lead after a fine corner from the left, but the Brazilian attacker's header went just wide at the far post.

Elkeson should have broken the deadlock around the half-hour mark after a quick attack through the middle, only to see his right-footed shot palmed wide by  Masaaki Higashiguchi.

Gamba’s biggest chance of the first half came just minutes later, with Shu Kurata trying his luck from inside the area after a low cross from the right, yet his attempt lacked power to really worry Zeng Cheng.

The Chinese side continued to dominate proceedings after the break and once more Elkeson should have added his name to the score sheet in the 52nd minute, but the Brazilian's shot with the outside of his boot just missed the target.

A sublime individual effort from Paulinho nearly led to the opening goal on the hour mark, but the former Tottenham midfielder was denied by Higashiguchi.

Gamba Osaka had a penalty shout turned down shortly after when they felt Paulinho handled the ball inside the area. Substitute Usami then showed his class with a fine individual move before curling a shot just over the top corner.

The hosts pushed hard for a late goal, but Guangzhou did enough to hold on and book their ticket for the AFC Champions League final.

The first leg of the showpiece against Al Ahli takes place on November 7, with the return scheduled for November 21.