SINGAPORE (AFP) - Defending champions Pohang Steelers shrugged off the sacking of their coach to make the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, crushing Japanese hopes by beating Kashima Antlers 1-0.
In the other east zone game, Jeonbuk Motors dumped Adelaide United out 3-2 after extra-time with former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-Gook netting the winner.
It ensured South Korea have four teams in the last eight after Suwon Bluewings and Seongnam Ilhwa booked their places on Tuesday.
While Korea stamped its authority on Asia's top club competition, it was a tournament to forget for powerhouses Japan and Australia.
Japan's two-time quarter-finalists Kawasaki Frontale and tournament debutants Sanfrecce Hiroshima were eliminated in the group stage, as were Australia's Melbourne Victory, with Gamba Osaka sent packing on Tuesday.
Saudi outfit Al Shabab and Qatari champions Al Gharafa are the other teams through to the quarter-finals, with Luiz Felipe Scolari's Bunyodkor seeking to join later Wednesday when they face Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal in Riyadh.
In the final match, Zobahan host fellow Iranian club Mes.
Pohang's players were still reeling from the sacking of Brazilian coach Waldemar Lemos in the lead-up to their crunch showdown, with assistant Park Chang-Hyun taking charge.
Lemos is the younger brother of Kashima coach Oswaldo Oliveira, who has led his team to a record three successive J-League titles.
But they have never progressed past the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League and must now wait until next year, if they qualify, for another crack.
The Steelers' Brazilian forward Mota got the decisive goal, his shot deflecting into the net off Atsuto Uchida after half an hour.
"We played against a really good team. We were not in our best form, but my players did their best to gain this good result," said Pohang coach Park.
"We only needed one chance to win. I'm really glad that we can go back home on a winning note."
In Adelaide, Dutch striker Sergio van Dijk sent a pulsating game into extra-time when he scrambled home the equaliser for the hosts in the sixth minute of injury time to leave the match poised at 2-2.
But striker Lee settled it for the 2006 champions, heading home from close range at the back post with four minutes remaining.
Jeonbuk were the better side for most of the match with their Brazilian striker Eninho outstanding with twin strikes in the 38th and 87th minute before he was replaced by manager Choi Kang-Hee with just minutes left of normal time.
Choi's decision appeared to initially backfire when van Dijk equalised late on, but the South Koreans had the final word in a frenetic match of nine yellow cards and one red, to Adelaide's Brazilian left-back Cassio in the dying seconds.
The quarter-finals are played in September after a break due to the searing Gulf summer heat, with the final at Tokyo's National Stadium on November 13.
|Maradona warns Kane that goalkeepers are watching|
|Manchester United great Giggs keen on Everton, Leicester jobs|
|Spalletti: Inter are Serie A contenders when Scudetto questions stop|
|Was Ronaldo really the best player in 2016-17? - The verdict in Opta stats|
|Real Madrid dominate FIFA FIFPro World XI of 2017|
|Ronaldo wins Best FIFA Men´s Player award ahead of Messi, Neymar|
|Zidane scoops Best FIFA Men´s Coach award after stellar year with Madrid|
|Giroud wondergoal wins FIFA Puskas Award|
|A lot of noise - Valverde reflects on Barca´s post-Neymar woes|
|Bernardo Silva cleared of diving against Burnley|
|Ronaldo the best? That´s Zidane´s opinion, says Valverde|
|Bonucci banned for Milan v Juventus|
|De Sciglio returns to Juventus training|
|Top of the Flops: Koeman´s transfer dealings brought about his Everton demise|
|Ditched Dutch: Koeman joins likes of De Boer & Van Gaal on the Premier League scrapheap|
|The third-shortest tenure but the second-best winning percentage - Koeman´s Everton spell in Opta nu|
|Mata urges United unity after Huddersfield embarrassment|
|Everton sack Koeman after woeful start to season|
|´Annoyed´ Theo Hernandez ready to turn back on France|
|We will fight for Conte – Courtois eager to avoid repeat of Mourinho debacle|
|Bayern Munich´s Muller out for three weeks with hamstring strain|
|It´s like hitting a chef with a knife and fork – Neymar blasts Marseille fans for missiles|
|We all deserved substituting after 30 minutes – Henderson slams Liverpool display|
|Mbappe named Golden Boy ahead of Dembele, Rashford|
|Neymar: Red card was harsh|
|Verratti: If I was Neymar, I would´ve lost it much earlier|
|Benzema isn´t overrated, insists Madrid boss Zidane|
|Cassano: I could´ve been playing on Mars like Messi and Neymar|
|Neymar red card unfair – Emery|
|Kane can become like Ronaldo and Messi, says Kobe Bryant|
|MLS Review: Portland top west, Earthquakes reach play-offs|
|Kane pleased with Spurs´ spectacle for NBA legend Kobe Bryant|
|Zidane backs ´player of a generation´ Ronaldo to rediscover goalscoring touch|
|Cavani calls on PSG to keep improving after Classique draw|
|Conte agrees with Guardiola and Mourinho over EFL Cup|
|Pochettino lauds Spurs for delivering in front of Maradona|
|Marcelo lauds Benzema as Europe´s best striker|
|Even the Golden State Warriors lose - Guardiola dismisses City ´Invincibles´ tag|
|I am different to other managers – Why Conte does not fear Chelsea axe|
|Character is key for Cahill as Chelsea chase consistency|
|Marseille 2 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Cavani rescues visitors after Neymar sees red|
|Real Madrid 3 Eibar 0: Super Asensio spares Ronaldo´s blushes|
|Allegri thanks Mandzukic for red card in Udinese rout|
|CAF Champions League Review: Al Ahly advance to final in dazzling style|
|Liverpool deserve to be ninth, says under-pressure Klopp|
|Wrong news - Wenger rubbishes Ozil exit rumours|
|Klopp slams Lovren: I would have stopped Kane getting the ball!|
|Udinese 2 Juventus 6: Khedira hat-trick inspires Bianconeri rout|
|We could have scored more - Two-goal Kane hails ´unbelievable´ Tottenham|
|Tottenham´s Kane one of the best - Pochettino|
|Atletico needed win at Celta, says Simeone|
|Tottenham set Premier League attendance record|
|Tottenham 4 Liverpool 1: Kane double increases pressure on Klopp|
|Montella questions VAR, promises ´united´ Milan will deliver|
|Celta Vigo 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Fit-again Gameiro ends visitors´ winless run|
|Wenger: Ozil back to his best for dominant Arsenal|
|Dolberg double sinks Feyenoord in De Klassieker|
|We´ve let him down – Keane backs Koeman after Arsenal capitulation|
|It´s not time to be crazy - Koeman calls for calm after Everton thumping|
|Mertesacker lauds compatriot Ozil after Everton thumping|
|AC Milan 0 Genoa 0: Bonucci sees red as 10-man Rossoneri fight for point|
|Guangzhou Evergrande claim seventh straight Chinese Super League crown|
|Everton 2 Arsenal 5: Koeman on the brink as hosts capitulate|
|Ipswich Town 0 Norwich City 1: Maddison gives Canaries more derby glory|
|Gary Neville thinks he is done as a football manager|
|Ibrahimovic has ´minimum´ five or six years left, claims Raiola|
|A-League Review: Vargas injury mars Newcastle Jets win, late winner gives Perth Glory first victory|
|Maybe the Premier League title race is already over - Klopp|
|Pochettino accuses Walker of ´alarming lack of respect´ over Tottenham exit|
|Pochettino: Mourinho put Dier in compromising position amid United interest|
|Sarri: Napoli care more about Serie A than Champions League|
|My goal was legal against Malaga, insists Barca´s Deulofeu|
|Valverde does ´not see any problem´ with Suarez´s sour substitution reaction|
|Ignore the noise, says under-fire Ozil|