Aitken denied as Guangzhou of China win Asian Champions League

Guangzhou Evergrande's players celebrate winning the Asian Champions League. Picture: AFP/Getty
Guangzhou Evergrande's players celebrate winning the Asian Champions League. Picture: AFP/Getty
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Brazilian striker Elkeson secured the Asian Champions League title for Guangzhou Evergrande of China yesterday, scoring the only goal of the game as Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team beat Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates 1-0.

In doing so he denied former Scotland captain Roy Aitken the chance to land Asian club football’s biggest prize. The former Celtic midfielder is sporting director at Al Ahli and was looking to win his first trophy since steering Aberdeen to League Cup glory 20 years ago this month.

Elkeson hadn’t found the net in the ACL since April but was lethal in the 54th minute of the second leg of the ACL final, spinning Salmin Khamis sharply and keeping his composure to slot home.

Khamis made the visitors’ task even harder in the 66th, receiving a straight red for stamping on Zou Zheng. First-time finalists Al Ahli still only needed to score once to snatch the trophy on away goals after a scoreless first leg in Dubai, and Lima had their best chance in the 78th minute. But the former Benfica man was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Kim Young-gwon, giving Guangzhou their second Asian title in three years.

In Germany, Wolfsburg routed Werder Bremen 6-0 at home to consolidate third place and Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Hannover 2-1 as Bundesliga games were played out amid increased security measures. Police, some armed with machine guns, maintained a visible presence at all stadiums with officials still on alert following the attacks in Paris last Friday. Fans were checked, bags were searched and the increased measures led to Stuttgart’s game with Augsburg being delayed by 15 minutes.

Augsburg went on to win 4-0 and climb provisionally off the bottom with their biggest-ever Bundesliga win.

Raffael struck Moenchengladbach’s winner in the 84th minute as coach Andre Schubert matched Udo Lattek’s club record start of being unbeaten after eight league games. Schubert, who was promoted from interim coach, has seven wins and one draw.

Gladbach winger Ibrahima Traore scored in the 34th minute, only for Artur Sobiech to equalise in the 65th minute.

“It’s a relief just to be talking about football,” said Traore, who was born and grew up in Paris, and who dedicated the goal to his brother. “My brother had very bad days and my mother didn’t feel safe so I brought them here. It’s the first time they’re all in the stadium. My sister is here too.”

Germany forward Max Kruse marked his return from injury by scoring twice for Wolfsburg, who also had Josuha Guilavogui, Bad Dost, Vieirinha and an own goal from Alejandro Galvez to thank for their seventh league win

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored twice as Bayer Leverkusen won 3-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne versus Mainz ended scoreless.

Some fans displayed banners saying “freedom” and “equality” and games were preceded by a minute’s silence.