ACL - Round Up

This week we got to see the final round of play-off matches for the Asian Champions League group games. It was also a great week for all four East-Asian sides as they qualified for the group stages. We will now take a look at each of the sides from East Asia.

Tianjin Quanjian (China) 2 - 0 Ceres–Negros (Philippines)​

Overall it's been a good few weeks for Football in ASEAN but in this game, the side from the Philippines were not strong enough for the Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian. As the Chinese club managed by Paulo Sousa run out 2-0 winners. Both goals for the home side came through Anthony Modeste the French striker who has been at the club since the summer.

Both goals were well taken the first coming from a corner by Yongpo Wang which was headed in from close range by Modeste. The second came as the Brazilian Pato laid the ball off to Modeste on the halfway line allowing him to run through and score from the edge of the box.

This game was dominated by Tianjin Quanjian and in truth, they could have had more as the crowd of around 23,000 spread around the half-empty stadium would agree am sure.

Tianjin Quanjian will now look to kick on and prove they are a side that can challenge in this year's trophy. Here is how the table looks for them in a group made up of all East Asian sides

Shanghai SIPG (China) 1 - 0 Chiangrai United (Thailand)

Shanghai SIPG went into this game with new Portuguese and former FC Porto head coach Vítor Pereira. This was Pereira's first competitive game and it was to prove a successful one while his team run out 1-0 winners and qualified for the group stages of the Champions League. 

The signal goal in this game was a goal that will never be described as a classic goal. It came from a corner played in that was first saved and then the ball hit the post before it somehow came to the head of Yu Hai who managed to head home from close range. 

It was a game in which the Chinese club dominated and in truth could have had more than the one goal. In the end, the team with 67% possession run out winners and qualified for the group stages which is all that mattered before the game. 

Kashiwa Reysol (Japan) 3 - 0 Muang Thong United (Thailand)

We now head east of China to Japan and to Kashiwa Reysol, one of the J League's smaller sides. While they watched their rivals Urawa Reds win the Champions League last season they will now look to do the same. Their first game in the competition proved to be a fairly simple one against Thai side Muang Thong. 

The game took a while to get going and at half-time, the scores were still level. However, the Japanese side took control of the second half with three goals, the last coming in the last minute. The first came early in the second half from Cristiano the Brazilian who scored from close range after the ball was passed to him on a plate by Junya Ito. 

Ito had another assist once again for Cristiano in the 62nd minute. This time coming from a through ball on the halfway line splitting the defence to allow the Brazilian to take it around the Thai defender before slotting it home into the bottom corner. 

The final goal was to see the game off in the 89th minute coming from a Suk-Young Yoon cross to allow Ito to take the ball down in the box and slot it in to make sure he did get on the scoresheet as the attacking midfielder played a part in all three goals. 

Suwon Bluewings (South Korea) 5 - 1 FLC Thanh Hoa (Vietnam)

Last up for us on a trip through East Asian side play-off Champions League adventures is South Korean side Suwon Bluewings. The Bluewings had the Vietnamese team Thanh Hoa and in the end, had far too much for them as they run out 5-1 winners.

The game was played in snowy conditions which resulted in a very entertaining game with its share of mistakes. Bluewings were in control from the first minute that it took until the 44th minute for them to finally break the deadlock. With the ball somehow finding Waguininho free in the box and with only the keeper to beat the Brazilian slotted the ball home for a debut goal. Waguininho having signed in this transfer window from Bucheon 1995 in the K League 2. 

The second goal came just before the half-time whistle, the goal saw some lovely one-touch passes before Sang-Hyub Lim scored from the edge of the box. The midfielder slipped in the snow as he took the shot but still managed to find the bottom corner. This was another debut goal for a player signed from the K League 2. 

Waguininho then added a third early in the second half with his second of the game, this time with a well taken shot inside the box after a pass from Sang-Hyub Lim. A fourth goal was added by Ki-Je Lee as he beat the keeper at his near post. 

The fifth goal of the game came in the last minute through Dejan Damjanović, another player making his debut. The veteran Montenegrin having signed from FC Seoul this transfer window also. His goal came from a shot which somehow slipped under the Vietnamese keeper Trần Bửu Ngọc. 

In truth, this was a very simple win for Bluewings that could have been by a bigger margin but Thanh Hoa did get a very late consolation through Senegalese striker Pape Omar Faye. The goal also came thanks to some very poor defending which the snow played a part in.

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