Guangzhou, May 23: Guanghzou Evergrande beat Daegu 1-0 to usurp the South Korean side in AFC Champions League Group F and book a place in the knockout phase.
The Chinese Super League club looked set for a shock group-stage exit.
But Paulinho's effort went in off Jeong Tae-wook to move Guangzhou a point ahead of their visitors.
FULL-TIME | Guangzhou Evergrande 🇨🇳 1-0 Daegu FC 🇰🇷— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 22, 2019
🎉The two-time champions are heading back to the KO stage! @paulinhop8 with the vital winner to see Guangzhou leapfrog Daegu into second. #GUAvDAE #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/EhyO5U8nZH
Defending champions Kashima Antlers also ran things a little close as they had to come from behind to secure a 2-1 home win against Shandon Luneng.
Marouane Fellaini gave Shandong an early lead and for a while that looked like it would be enough to prevail in the Group E clash.
But Sho Ito struck twice in quick succession in the second half, the winner coming in the 70th minute, meaning Antlers finished two points ahead of Gyeongnam.
FULL-TIME! | @atlrs_official 🇯🇵 2-1 Shandong Luneng 🇨🇳— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 22, 2019
👏 Sho Ito was at the double again against Shandong as the holders came from behind to claim their place in the last 1⃣6⃣#KASvSDL #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/CCcnjnGzDM
They too were victorious on the day as Dutch striker Luc Castaignos helped Kim Jong-boo's side to a 2-0 victory over Johor Darul Ta'zim, with Takahiro Kunimoto also on target.
GOAL! | @GyeongnamFC 🇰🇷 2-0 @OfficialJohor 🇲🇾— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 22, 2019
2⃣🆙 Gyeongnam score with the last kick of the match to wrap the three points up #GFCvJDT #ACL2019
Follow LIVE ➡ https://t.co/dA5fCeEtZI pic.twitter.com/czsIEhndjN
The day's other game saw Sanfrecce Hiroshima – already assured of top spot in Group F – dispatch Melbourne Victory comfortably, winning 3-1 in Australia, leaving the A-League side bottom with just one point.
Antlers will be Hiroshima's opponents in the round of 16, while Shandong face Guangzhou.