Suwon progress in Asian Champs League

South Korean clubs Suwon Bluewings and Jeonbuk join J-League champions Kashima into knockout stages.

    Suwon progressed after knocking out Sydney FC [AFP]

    South Korean clubs Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors sealed their places in the last-16 of the Asian Champions League with confident wins on Wednesday.

    Suwon, ACL champions in 2001 and 2002, knocked Australian side Sydney FC out of the competition with a 3-1 victory in Group H and in Group G Jeonbuk won 2-1 at China's Shandong Luneng to advance.

    Joining the South Koreans will be Japan's Kashima Antlers who beat Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 in Tokyo.

    The J-League winners tie with Suwon in Group H on points and head-to-head record, but will be aiming for top spot in the final games to bring home advantage in the next round.

    Qatar's Al Sadd also joined them, thanks to a draw against Esteghlal.

    Early control

    Sydney FC's Champions League campaign came to an end in South Korea after Suwon took early control of the match with goals from Ha Tae-Goon and Mato Neretljak.

    While Bruno Cazarine pulled one back for Sydney, a late strike from Yeom Ki-Hun gave Suwon a deserved win.

    The Koreans took the lead in the first half when a free-kick was curled behind the Sydney backline for Ha to nod home from the edge of the six-yard box and five minutes after the restart, Suwon doubled their advantage from a Neretljak free-kick.

    Sydney immediately pulled a goal back but Suwon settled the contest with 10 minutes to go.

    "We have one game left at Shanghai and if we want to finish first we need to win and we will do all we can to get that result. We will fight 100 percent for victory," said Suwon coach Yoon Sung-Hyo.

    Results & fixtures

    Tuesday May 3

    Group B
     Al Sadd 2-2 Esteghlal

    Group C
     Piroozi 3-2 Al Ittihad
     Bunyodkor 3-2 Al Wahda

    Group D
     Emirates v Zobahan
     Al Shabab 1-0 Al Rayyan

    Group G
     Arema 0-4 Cerezo  Shandong 1-2 Jeonbuk

    Group H
     Kashima 2-0 Shanghai  Suwon 3-1 Sydney FC

    Yoon was delighted with the victory over Sydney that sends the team into the knockout stage for the third consecutive year.

    "We had to win to be sure of a place in the last 16 and the performance and result was good, it was a good victory," he said.

    Kashima through

    Kashima overcame the absence of several injured players to win a game played during the day at Tokyo's National Stadium to preserve energy in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

    Koroki headed the Antlers ahead in the 32nd minute, and the striker doubled the advantage when he pounced on a rebound in the 81st.

    "Probably all the people of the Kashima side had hoped for us to win today.

    I'm very glad that we were able to live up to their expectations," said Kashima coach Oswaldo Oliveira.

    Elsewhere Cerezo Osaka moved past Shandong into second place by winning 4-0 at Indonesia's Arema.

    Shandong must win at Cerezo in the last round to claim second place ahead of the Japanese club.

    In east Java, Cerezo took the lead against Arema in the 30th minute from midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake's goal, and made it 2-0 in the 42nd through Brazilian striker Rodrigo Pimpao.

    Arema, who are stuck in a form rut both in continental and local leagues, had their comeback hopes snuffed out in the opening minute of the second half when Takashi Inui made it 3-0. Inui added his second goal and his side's fourth in the 61st minute.


    Qatari side Al Sadd also qualified, coming from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw with Iranian outfit Esteghlal.

    However, there was trouble at Iranian side Piroozi's home match with already qualified Saudi side Al Ittihad as some 300-400 youths dressed in black and carrying Bahraini flags began protesting.

    The youths - who were protesting Saudi military aid to Bahrain in crushing a pro-democracy movement - were first rounded up and isolated in a section of the stands before being expelled from the stadium shortly after the second half began.

    Piroozi won the match 3-2.

    Thirty-two teams play home and away in eight groups to qualify for the knockout stages starting in May.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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