GUANGZHOU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande beat Kashima Antlers 1-0 at Tianhe Stadium on Tuesday as the Chinese and Japanese champions met in the first-leg of the last 16.
Guangzhou returned to the knockout stage for the fifth time in six years with an unbeaten record in the group stage, while the visitors made their first appearance in the last 16 since 2011.
Although Guangzhou dominated the game since the beginning, Scolari's team didn't find a way to break the deadlock in the first half.
The Chinese Super League defending champions missed a golden chance in the 19th minute, as Brazilian midfielder Paulinho's fabulous passing put Alan clear of Kashima Antlers defence, while the 27-year-old striker's flip shot passed through the post.
Another Brazilian striker Goulart didn't find his luck either, even though his overhead scissors shot in the 83rd minute attracted eyeballs.
Kashima Antlers goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae made several saves to deny Evergrande's front line, but he could do nothing about Paulinho's 75th minute winner.
Paulinho shot the ball into the net in the 75th minute as none Kashima Antlers defenders managed to stop Yu Hanchao's corner into the area.
The second leg of the tie will be played next week in Japan.