Cerezo edges Gamba to reach ACL quarters

Cerezo Osaka upstaged its more illustrious crosstown rival Gamba Osaka 1-0 on Tuesday to book a place in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals, while Jeonbuk Motors also progressed to the last eight with a comfortable victory.

Cerezo, which has largely lived in the shadow of 2008 ACL winners Gamba, secured the victory when Daisuke Takahashi scored with an angled shot in the 88th minute.

Gamba has the more experienced side and was the strong favorite to win at home. It had slightly the better of a tepid first half but was on the back foot for much of the second and paid the price for a pedestrian performance.

Cerezo was rewarded when Takahashi fired home from the right edge of the penalty area, beating Tosuke Fujigawa at his near post, with the Gamba keeper anticipating a cross rather than shot.

Gamba almost snatched an equalizer just as the clock ticked over to 90 minutes, but Takashi Usami’s scrambled shot hit the post.

Gamba players collapsed onto the pitch at the final whistle and the fans looked stunned at losing for only the fifth time in history to its smaller neighbor, and this time on the larger continental stage.

Brazilian striker Adriano – who moved from Cerezo to Gamba this season – was largely contained but wasted a couple of good opportunities in the second half; heading wide with an unmarked header and then having a late shot smothered well by goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyun.

Meanwhile in South Korea, a hat trick by Brazilian midfielder Eninho gave Jeonbuk Motors a 3-0 win over China’s Tianjin Teda.

The journeyman midfielder scored in the 33rd and 44th minutes and completed his hat trick in the 84th to put the 2007 champions into the last eight.

Tianjin were without their two key imports due to suspension, with captain and central defender Marko Zoric and Argentine targetman Luciano Olguin missing.

Defeat for Arie Haan’s side ended China’s participation in this year’s competition.

Later Tuesday, Iran’s Sepahan was to host Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in another round-of-16 match while Al Hilal was to travel to Al Ittihad in an all-Saudi Arabian clash.