AFC Champions League holders Kashima Antlers played out a goalless draw with Guangzhou Evergrande in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at Tianhe Stadium.
Kashima came closest to snatching a goal to take into the return fixture in three weeks through Ryohei Shirasaki's piledriver that crashed back off the crossbar two minutes from time.
Fabio Cannavaro's team had otherwise been livelier in front of goal, with Kwoun Sun-tae called into action by Anderson Talisca with 30 minutes on the clock - one of six saves he made in Wednesday's clash.
A good chance came and went for Shirasaki early in the second half as he headed over when picked out by Shoma Doi, though the visitors struggled to create further clear-cut opportunities.
Elkeson – the Brazil-born attacker who could make his China debut in 2022 World Cup qualifying next month – failed to convert a promising opening on the counter and that miss would have proved costly had Shirasaki's late effort found the net.