SYDNEY — Defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande lost 1-0 to the Western Sydney Wanderers in the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarterfinal Wednesday.
The visitors finished the game with nine men after Zhang Linpeng and Goa Lin were sent off in the final minutes, prompting coach Marcello Lippi to charge on to the pitch and confront the referee.
Defender Antony Golec's goal in the 60th minute gave the home side a slender advantage ahead of next week's second leg in Guangzhou.
Lippi, who coached Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, took no questions in his post-match conference but tried to explain his altercation with referee Mohammed Abdulla Hassan Mohamed of the United Arab Emirates.
"I'm not upset about the match that we lost," he said through an interpreter. "I know I wasn't supposed to go on the field but you also watched the match and the two red cards. The first one I didn't see very clearly but the second one was very close to me so I saw that it was not on purpose.
"I've been to all the biggest competitions like World Cups, Champions League and I know it was wrong to go in the field."
Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic thought Lippi got off lightly by not being reprimanded for his antics.
"Coaches cannot go in the pitch. If I went on to the pitch I'm sure I would have been sent off," Popovic said. "We all disagree with the decisions that referees make and we voice our opinions from the sideline, but you don't go on to the pitch. So that I can't accept."
In the other match Wednesday, Pohang Steelers were held to a goalless draw by FC Seoul in the all-South Korean encounter.
In the earlier quarterfinals, Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates beat Al-Ittihad 2-0 while Saudia Arabia's Al Hilal beat Al Sadd 1-0.