Goals galore, while Thai champions defend

This week the Asian Champions League came to an end with goals galore on Tuesday with the Wednesday matches being slightly more modest. We now, however, do know the fate of all sides with three CSL and J League sides making the last 16 while two K League sides make up the list for the East Asian sides. 

Strong defence for some means joy for J League side 

Lets first look at Tuesday matches as the four ties involving East Asian sides had 12 goals in the four matches. Although there was not much to shout about for Jeonbuk Motors as despite winning their Group they were held to a goalless draw by Thai champions Buriram United.

The other match in that Group through which is Group G was a lot more entertaining if not a bit surprising. That was due to Urawa Reds hosting Beijing Guoan with the Chinese side needing a win to qualify.

If you had looked at their previous match in the Group in Beijing were the CSL side had 16 shots in total and 64% possession notwithstanding it being a goalless draw, you'd be forgiven for thinking Urawa had their work cut out.

Despite the misfortunes in the league for the J League side while Guoan has won ten in a row China is will be the 2017 Asian Champions heading to the last 16 after a 3-0 home win.

The goals coming in the match from Kazuki Nagasawa, a first-half sub for the injured Yosuke Kashiwagi. Then with Yuki Muto scoring on 41 minutes before Shinzo Koroki put the match to bed and booked his club a place in the Last 16 with the third.

The result means Urawa Reds qualify in second place in Group H behind K League side Jeonbuk Motors. The team from Korea winning the Group despite twice failing to beat Buriram United.

Goals galore

To the other Tuesday matches this time in Group H as Shanghai SIPG hosted the Group winners Ulsan and Kawasaki Frontale travelled Down Under to Sydney. 

Then first to China and the tie which Shanghai SIPG knew they had to win to get to the last 16. A much-changed Ulsan side went to the Shanghai Stadium as 23,000 watched SIPG cruise to second place with five goals.

The match saw former Chelsea star Oscar grab a hat-trick with the side gaining their passage to their fourth consecutive appearance in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League. Li Shenglong scored the third in this match after the Oscar double.

After Oscar then completed the hat trick to make it 4-0 substitute Hu Jinghang made it five on 88 minutes to drum home the advantage. Ulsan though will be back at full strength for the last 16 and are still a team to look out for. 

Group E tied up as K League newcomers miss out 

Group E was set for a dramatic last day with three sides fighting it out for the two spots in the last 16. To see how this planned out first let's travel to Korea as the K League side new to this played Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta'zim known a win for them and they could hope results went their way.

Then with a crowd of only 1,514, a Luc Castaignos’ second-half goal followed by a late Takahiro Kunimoto strike earned Gyeongnam FC a 2-0 win.

It was not enough to take the K League side into the knockout rounds however as they finished on eight points in third place two adrift of Kashima Antlers.

This was due to the J League side 2-1 win over the Group winners Shandong Luneng. It will then be Shandong Luneng and Kashima Antlers who take their place in the knockout stages. 

The J League side looked in trouble though when on 11 minutes Marouane Fellaini gave Shandong the lead. It then looked like Antlers would be heading for the exit but on 68 minutes Ito scored and followed this up two minutes later with a second to make it 2-1.

The double for the 30-year-old was then enough to secure second place for the side from Japan as they will prepare for the next stages of the competition.

Daegu normally miss out 

Daegu of Korea after an impressive debut in the Champions League missed out on a place in the next round of the competition. This was down to the fact that even with nine points in the six matches they could not avoid defeat in Guangzhou over Evergrande.

The match at the Tianhe Stadium in China was in truth dominated by the home side and in the and Guangzhou Evergrande deservedly picked up three points to book their place in the last 16. 

The winning goal in this match did not come till the 64th minute as unfortunately, the Deagu defender Jeong Tae-Wook headed the ball in his own net. This was enough for the CSL side to win the tie 1-0 and finish second in Group F.

Then last but not least so already Group winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima run out 3-1 winners in Melbourne over Victory. The win meant the J League side made it five wins from six games in Group F.

The game started well too for the Group leaders as on five minutes they were ahead from a header from Taishi Matsumoto. It was however level when Ola Toivonen’s free-kick hit the net in the second half.

It was to be brief rest bite though for the Australians as three minutes Yusuke Minagawa made it 2-1 before two minutes later and Tsukasa Morishima made it three. 

The last 16 ties then for the East Asian Sides looks like this, with the matches to be played over the last two weeks in June;

Kashima Antlers v Sanfrecce Hiroshima 

Guangzhou Evergrande v Shandong Luneng

Ulsan Hyundai v Urawa Reds

Jeonbuk Motors v Shanghai SIPG


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