Pohang into 2nd round in Asian Champions League
OSAKA, Japan (AP) South Korean club Pohang Steelers beat Japan’s Cerezo Osaka 2-0 to secure a second-round spot in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.
Lee Myeong-ju scored in the 24th minute and Kim Seung-dae doubled the lead in the 65th after Cerezo was reduced to 10 men shortly before halftime, when Takumi Minamino was sent off for a challenge on Son Jun-ho.
Pohang, the 2009 champion, led Group E by six points ahead of its final game against Thailand’s Buriram United on April 23. Cerezo travels to Shandong where a win will be sufficient to advance them into the knockout stage.
Also in the group, Buriram kept its qualifying hopes alive with a 1-0 win over China’s Shandong Luneng.
In Australia, an injury-time own goal from captain John Hutchinson gave FC Seoul a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners, allowing the South Korean side to lead Group F with eight points.
In Beijing, Naoki Ishihara scored two late goals as J-League champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima came back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with Beijing Guoan.
Hiroshima, Beijing and Central Coast are all tied on six points ahead of the final matches of the group stage next week, when Beijing travels to Seoul and Hiroshima hosts Central Coast.
In Tashkent, two-time semifinalists Bunyodkor ended Saudia Arabia’s Al Fateh’s chances of advancing to knockout stage with a 3-2 victory as the Uzbek side struck two goals inside the final seven minutes.
Midfielder Oleg Zoteev put Bunyodkor ahead late in the first half before Al Fateh went 2-1 up in the second half through Doris Salomo and Hamda Al Hamdan’s strikes.
With time running out for the home team, Vokhid Shodiev and substitute Alibobo Rakhmatullaev struck late in the second half to give Bunyodkor a much needed victory.
Bunyodkor could make it to the last 16 if they beat Qatar’s El Jaish in the final round of fixtures next week.
In Ahvaz, newly crowned Iran Pro League champions Foolad Khouzestan topped Group B and marched into round of 16 after coming from behind to secure a 3-1 win over Qatar’s El Jaish.
Khouzestan captain Bahktiar Rahmani’s acrobatic goal in the 23rd minute leveled Nilmar’s 10th minute strike before Gholam Rezaei put the hosts ahead late in the first half.
Brazilian substitute Chimba, who narrowly missed a chance in the 70th minute, made it 3-1 with his low drive from the edge of the penalty area in the stoppage time.
Later in Doha, Al Rayyan’s Cho Yong-hyung netted an own goal in the final minute which gave Al Jazira 3-2 win that lifted them on top of Group A with 10 points and closed in on place in last 16.
Abdelaziz Barada’s brilliant free kick gave Al Jazira just before the halftime before the home team moved ahead within eight minutes of the second half with Yakubu converting a penalty and Musa Haroon’s header making it 2-1.
Al Mabkhout drew level in the 60th minute but Cho’s own goal in the last minute proved decisive as the Qatari team lost for the fourth time in five ACL games.