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Korea´s Suwon make AFC Champions League knockouts

19 May 2009 18:20

SINGAPORE (AFP) - South Korean powerhouse Suwon Bluewings booked their spot in the AFC Champions League knockout rounds Tuesday as Kawasaki Frontale set up an all-Japanese last 16 clash with Gamba Osaka.

The K-League champions overcame stubborn resistance from minnows Singapore Armed Forces to win 3-1 with first-half goals from Bae Gi-Jong and Lee Sang-Ho and a last minute penalty by Seo Dong-Hyeon doing the job.

Their victory snuffed out any hope that Shanghai Shenhua had of staying in Asia's top club competition, with the Chinese outfit playing for pride only against Japan's Kashima Antlers.

That match ended 1-1 with Marquinhos' 31st minute goal for Kashima cancelling out Mark Milligan's ninth minute opener.

The draw means Kashima top Group G and face a round of 16 clash with either FC Seoul or China's Shandong Luneng who meet Wednesday to decide which one finishes second in Group F behind defending champions Gamba.

A 2-0 away win for Pohang Steelers over Kawasaki ensured the Korean side avoided in-form Gamba in the knockout rounds, with the J-Leaguers instead forced to play their compatriots on June 24 for a place in the quarter-finals.

Noh Byung-Joon opened the scoring for Pohang in the 11th minute and Brazilian striker Denilson put the match beyond doubt with a clinical strike 18 minutes from time.

It earned the Korean FA Cup holders a crack at a quarter-final berth against either Australia's Newcastle Jets or fellow Koreans Ulsan Hyundai, who play on Wednesday.

In a dead-rubber match in that group, Tianjin Teda ended China's away drought with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Australia's Central Coast Mariners.

Lone striker Biao Mao broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, latching on to a defence-splitting pass from Leilei Ma to slot home past goalkeeper Danny Vukovic's near post.

It was the first away win by a Chinese team in 11 games of this year's competition.

Elsewhere, Uzbek champions Bunyodkor, last year's semi-finalists, face off with Al Shabab Al Arabi of the UAE for second place in Group D and the final west zone spot in the knockout stage.

Bunyodkor, boasting Brazilian legend Rivaldo, have seven points, one more than Al Shabab Al Arabi, and the Uzbek giants will enjoy passionate home support in Tashkent.

Ettifaq, who visit Sepahan, have already secured top spot in the group and face a round of 16 matchup with the Group A runners-up, either fellow Saudi side Al Hilal or Pakhtakor.

Like Japan, Saudi Arabia has all four of its clubs through, along with Piroozi (Iran), Pakhtakor (Uzbekistan) and Umm Salal (Qatar).

Saudi champions Al Ittihad will have to bounce back from Friday's 4-0 defeat to Al Shabab in the King's Cup final when they host Qatar?s Umm Salal in Jeddah for first place in Group C.

In the other group game, UAE's Al Jazira take on Iran's Esteghal.

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