SINGAPORE (AFP) - South Korea's Suwon Bluewings and Seongnam Ilhwa powered into the last 16 of the AFC Champions League on Wednesday as Japan's Gamba Osaka took a giant step towards joining them.
Suwon made the grade by beating China's Henan Jianye 2-0, with a first-half strike by Brazilian Jose Mota and a second in the dying minutes from Kim Dae-Eui enough to secure their passage from Group G.
Seongnam maintained their unbeaten record in Group E with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Beijing Guoan in the Chinese capital, with Colombian Mauricio Molina getting the decisive goal with 16 minutes remaining.
It gives Korea three teams in the knockout rounds after Jeonbuk Motors qualified on Tuesday alongside Japan's Kashima Antlers.
The fourth Korean club, defending champions Pohang Steelers, are well placed to make it four-out-of-four.
J-League stalwarts Gamba, the 2008 Asian champions, inched closer to progressing after a convincing 3-0 win over Singapore Armed Forces, whose campaign ended with just one point from four games.
It was a one-sided match with Gamba firing 20 shots on target in the first half alone.
They opened their account in the 28th minute when Takahiro Futagawa sent a short corner to defender Michihiro Yasuda, who dribbled into the area and fired home an angled shot.
Shoki Hirai, who scored a hat-trick in the first leg a week ago, made it 2-0 with a sweet strike in the 55th minute and Brazilian substitute Ze Carlos wrapped it up in injury time.
Melbourne Victory kept their slim hopes alive with their first win of the tournament, beating Japan's Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 in the other Group E game.
Skipper Kevin Muscat, who missed his spot-kick in the Victory's A-League grand final penalty shootout loss to Sydney FC earlier this month, made amends by converting a 60th-minute penalty on Wednesday.
The match turned on the decision by the Iranian referee to award a soft-looking penalty to Melbourne after striker Robbie Kruse was brought down.
It leaves Kawasaki with three points, three adrift of Beijing in the fight for the second qualifying berth.
In Group A, Iranian side Esteghlal came away with a superb 1-1 draw in Doha against Al Gharafa which sees the visitors retain their one point advantage over them.
However, Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia are breathing down their necks after doing the double over United Arab Emirates side Al Jazira as a brace by Victor de Oliveira saw them move onto six points, just two adrift of the leaders.
On a good day for Iranian sides Sepahan, beaten finalists in the 2007 AFC Champions League, defeated Uzbekistan Cup winners Pakhtakor 2-0 in the Iranian city of Esfahan, which saw them reduce the gap between the two sides to just a point.
Sepahan won the match with two goals in two minutes of the second-half as Senegalese striker Ibrahima Toure opened the scoring in the 74th minute and Iranian international defender Bengar Mohsen added the second a minute later.
The last match of the day's entertainment saw Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab go top by a point from Pakhtakor after they prevailed 3-2 at home to the winners of the inaugural AFC Champions League Al Ain.
Amado Da Silva scored twice - once to give the hosts a 1-0 lead after 12 minutes and then to bring them level at 2-2 in the second-half - before midfielder Marcel Camacho grabbed all three points with seven minutes remaining.
|Rodgers lauds ´big talent´ Balotelli|
|Ronaldo coy on United return|
|Bastia, Saint-Etienne clash as Brandao transfer collapses|
|Ancelotti shocked by Lampard, Manchester City link|
|Nuno thankful for ´big influence´ of Mourinho|
|Sporting Kansas City 1 Philadelphia Union 1: Brown´s maiden goal secures Union draw|
|Blanc hails ´natural leader´ Ibrahimovic|
|Van Gaal: ´Maybe we don´t need other players´|
|Rodgers: ´One or two areas´ to strengthen|
|No Ronaldo for United clash|
|Monaco look to replace Rodriguez|
|Garcia pleased with Roma form|
|Swansea well beaten by Bournemouth|
|Pellegrini concerned by ´high risk´ pitch|
|Poyet issues Wickham warning|
|Ramos makes Dortmund bow in Chievo win|
|Medel agent in Cardiff to discuss Inter deal|
|Remy to join up QPR squad|
|Falcao to feature against Valencia|
|Wenger brushes off Balotelli rumours, Gerrard claims|
|Blanc stresses Trophee des Champions importance|
|Pardew hopeful of Ferreyra loan|
|Leeds to meet with police to discuss outstanding fees|
|Bernabeu redevelopment plans halted by Spanish court|
|Malaga complete Ochoa deal|
|Man arrested over match-fixing claim in Bulgaria|
|Osvaldo could join Inter in Taider swap|
|Murcia denied Segunda participation over financial woe|
|Guardiola delighted with Guadalajara triumph|
|Wenger rules out Quintero capture|
|Ansaldi joins Atleti on loan|
|Seferovic signs on at Frankfurt|
|Van der Vaart not ruling out QPR move|
|Hiddink eyes more Netherlands progress|
|Palace snap up free agent Hangeland|
|Davies competition can help me improve, insists Rose|
|Basanta completes Fiorentina move|
|Sporting slam Dier´s father and representative|
|Grenier denies missing training|
|Lazio bring Braafheid in from the cold|
|Leboeuf: Ibrahimovic should be PSG captain instead of Silva|
|Villa must heed Keane advice, says Lambert|
|Falque joins Genoa|
|Henderson: Gerrard is irreplaceable|
|Milner: I´ll stay if I´m playing|
|Samp swoop for Bergessio|
|Evans impressed by Van Gaal´s attention to detail|
|Cordoba sign Rossi on loan from Juve|
|Brondby ´will do everything´ to sign Agger|
|Seedorf ´still has Milan contract´|
|Blaszczykowski: Dortmund will always be number one|
|Mourinho hints at Cech exit|
|Osman sets sights on silverware|
|Sahin to miss Dortmund´s Bundesliga opener|
|Griezmann ´didn´t think twice´ about joining Atletico|
|Fletcher tips bright future for Herrera|
|Swedish defender Mellberg retires|
|Copa do Brasil Review: Vasco da Gama, Novo Hamburgo advance|
|Courteous Chelsea players welcome Courtois|
|UEFA to investigate fan violence in Kiev|
|Ribery shines as Bayern edge out Guadalajara|
|Lampard´s short-term future set to be decided|
|Villa wants to leave legacy|
|Cabaye fresh for PSG´s trophy assault|
|Pique: I am far from the world´s best defender|
|Schneiderlin staying put, says Koeman|
|Digne: PSG have acclimatised in China|
|Atletico say no to Torres, Hernandez|
|Mata buoyed by early form|
|Bruce rues calamitous Huddlestone miss|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Torino mark return with big win, Lyon victorious|
|Southampton win again|
|Jenkinson agrees West Ham loan|
|Tottenham agree Dier move|
|Rincon seals Genoa move|
|Dunne announces international retirement|
|Romulo close to Juve switch|
|Trencin 0 Hull City 0: Huddlestone pays penalty in Hull stalemate|
|Rennes prise Prcic away from Sochaux|
|CSL Preview: Liaoning look for swift response, buoyant R&F visit Henan|
|Pique desperate to regain high standards|
|Marseille agree three-year Stade Velodrome lease|
|Torres will not be leaving, says Mourinho|
|Bastia bring in Brandao|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Guingamp: League and cup winners battle for Trophee des Champions|
|Argentine Primera Division suspended after Grondona death|
|Immobile: Lewandowski is the past, I am the future|
|Rose pens new Tottenham deal|
|CSL Review: Evergrande end Harbin run, Henan edge clear of danger|
|Ivory Coast appoint Renard|
|Three-man shortlist for South Korea post|
|MLS Preview: Sounders aiming to bounce back against Earthquakes|
|Personal reasons behind Evra´s Juve switch|
|Liga MX Preview: Monterrey out to continue winning run|
|J.League Preview: Oenoki begins S-Pulse reign at Tokyo|
|K.League Preview: Jeonbuk face tricky Jeonnam test, Pohang visit Suwon|
|Kakuta loaned to Vallecano|
|Morrison remanded in custody|
|Hernandez coy on United exit|
|Neymar on road to recovery|
|Feyenoord capture Wilkshire and Basacikoglu|
|Yoel makes Valencia switch|
|Heaton extends Burnley deal|
|Lees leaves Leeds for Wednesday|
|Caballero eyes first-team action|
|Newcastle ´monitoring´ Remy, claims Pardew|
|Rodriguez ready to fight for Real place|
|Cavani ´certain´ he will stay with PSG|
|Morrison charged with assaults|
|Copenhagen slam security after fan violence in Kiev|
|Gerrard: Suarez ´too good´ for Arsenal|
|Mourinho explains Lukaku exit|
|Simeone content with Atleti workout|
|Milligan: Australia targeting Asian Cup|
|Ronaldinho rules out retirement|
|Rodgers challenges Henderson|
|Jovetic can be City catalyst - Pellegrini|
|Janko joins Sydney as marquee|
|Deila ´unbelievably disappointed´ with Celtic|
|MLS Review: DC close on Sporting, Red Bulls hold RSL|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Emelec crowned champions|
|Bolivar 1 San Lorenzo 0 (agg 1-5): Visitors advance to maiden Libertadores final|
|Gerrard open to move abroad|
|Lukaku tells Chelsea ´no hard feelings´|
|Zaha eager to impress Van Gaal|
|Liverpool down Man City after shoot-out|
|Atletico fall to Gonzalez´s penalty heroics|
|Glazers offer up 8m United shares|