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Osaka Gambam beats Tianjin Taida, both into last 16
( Xinhua )

Osaka Gambam beats Tianjin Taida, both into last 16

Gamba Osaka striker Adriano (R) fires a shot against China's Tianjin Teda during their Asian Champions League match in Osaka, Japan, May 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies] 

Osaka Gambam beats Tianjin Taida, both into last 16

Japan's Gamba Osaka forward Lee Kuen-ho (R) of South Korea fights for the ball against China's Tianjin Teda forward Yu Dabao (L) during the Asian Champions League group E match in Osaka, Japan, May 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

OSAKA - Osaka Gamba swept Tianjin Taida 2-0 at home to qualify for the top 16 of the Asian Champions League Wednesday.

Japan international Yasuhito Endo's trademark free kick midway through the second half, followed by a Takashi Usami penalty during injury time, settled the contest in the home side's favour and ensured they reached the final 16 of the competition for the fourth year in a row.

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The win helped Gamba top Group E with 10 points, beating Tianjin on a better head-to-head record and set up a next meeting with local rivals Cerezo at home in two weeks' time.

Tianjin had already secured their last 16 berth prior to this match but Gamba needed to win to advance to the next round. "Osaka is a very good team. The results reflect the quality of the teams," said Taida coach Arend Haan.

But the Dutch coach appeared unhappy about losing by two set-pieces, saying the team has conceded two many points over set-pieces and made no progress in it.

Playing in torrential rain at Expo 70 Commemoration Park Stadium, Gamba were on the front foot from the outset, but was unable to open scoring for the first 70 minutes.

The deadlock was broken in the 74th minute for when Endo curled in a free-kick which gave Taida's goalkeeper Yang Qipeng no chance.

Tianjin came close once in the 87th minute with an effort from Chen Tao but Gamba added another strike in stoppage time from the penalty spot.

Two minutes into the additional time, substitute midfielder Shoki Hirai dribbled up the pitch on a counter-attack and raced through one-on-one with Yang, but the Tianjin goalkeeper fouled Hirai to receive a straight red card.


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