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Steelers close in on last 16

14 May 2012 13:56

Three-time Asian champions Pohang Steelers need just one point to qualify for the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.

The South Korean giants face Uzbekistan side Bunyodkor in Group E on Wednesday to maintain their push for an unprecedented fourth continental title.

The K-League side only need to avoid defeat at Jar Stadium to advance from Group E along with A-League side Adelaide United, although Bunyodkor can still advance if they win.

Adelaide ensured qualification following a goalless draw with Bunyodkor at the start of May making the result crucial for Pohang coach Hwang Sun-hong.

"The match against Bunyodkor is now very important," Hwang said.

"As it will be a decisive game, I will ask my players to keep their concentration for the next match."

Bunyodkor, who have bowed out in the Round of 16 for the last two seasons and reached the semis in 2008, know their fate is still in their hands with a victory a must.

"Everything is now in our hands as we have the last match at home in our city against Pohang Steelers, and if we beat them we will be in the next stage," Bunyodkor coach Mirdjalal Kasimov said..

"It will be difficult, but it is possible to win and go through to the next stage."

In Group F, South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai entertain fellow qualifiers FC Tokyo with top spot up for grabs, while Beijing Guoan travel to Australia to face Brisbane Roar with both sides already eliminated.

In Group B Pakhtakor (seven points) travel to the United Arab Emirates needing to defeat tournament debutants Bani Yas (eight) to advance as second in the group.

Top side Al Ittihad are already through ahead of their meeting with Qatar's Al Arabi.

In Group A, play-off winners Esteghlal need just a point from their visit to Uzbekistan to face already-eliminated Nasaf to advance alongside Al Jazira.

Esteghlal coach Parviz Mazloomi, though, must re-shuffle his side with midfielder Andranik Teymourian and defenders Hanif Omranzadeh and Ali Hamoudi suspended.

Al Jazira have already won the group after posting four wins from five games, but face an Al Gharafa side in Doha who must win and hope Esteghlal fail to beat Nasaf to advance to the last 16 for the first time.

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A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0
6 0 +0 0
7 0 +0 0
8 0 +0 0
9 0 +0 0
10 0 +0 0

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