Sports / Soccer

Seoul, Hiroshima advance in Asian Champions League

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-24 11:19

Seoul, Hiroshima advance in Asian Champions League

SEOUL, South Korea - FC Seoul beat Beijing Guoan 2-1 to advance to the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, ensuring both last season's finalists reached the second round.

Kang Song-ho scored a minute before halftime and Yun Ju-tae extended the lead in the 56th as Seoul, which lost the 2013 final to Guangzhou, topped Group F.

J-League champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima reached the last 16 for the first time by finishing second in the tight group after beating Australian club Central Coast Mariners 1-0.

Mariners, which needed only a draw to advance, were reduced to 10 men when Brent Griffiths was sent off for tripping Naoki Ishihara. Satoru Yamagishi deflected Tsukasa Shiotani's subsequent free kick into the net in the 72nd minute.

Seoul will face Group H runner-up Kawasaki Frontale in the second round on May 7 and May 14, while Hiroshima plays Group H winner Western Sydney Wanderers.

Japan's Cerezo Osaka had a 2-1 comeback victory at China's Shandong Luneng in Group E, with Yoichiro Kakitani and Diego Forlan both scoring in the second half. Cerezo next faces defending champion and Group G winner Guangzhou Evergrande.

Pohang Steelers, which had already secured a place in the knockout stage, had a 0-0 draw at home to Thailand's Buriram United and will next meet fellow South Korean club Jeonbuk Motors in a battle of two former Asian champions.

At Abu Dhabi, Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia topped Group A with 15 points, with Abdulmajeed Al Ruwali scoring both goals in a 2-1 win at Al Jazira, who also advanced.

Al Ruwali scored off a deflection in the 35th and was on target after a counterattack two minutes from the end.

In Tehran, Boubacar Kebe scored twice, on either side of Mohammad Ghazi's goal, to give Esteghlal a 3-1 victory over Qatar's Al Rayyan. Both teams were already out of contention.

Group B went almost down to the last kick, with Uzbek champion Bunyodkor securing a place in the knockout stage for the seventh year in a row with a dramatic 2-1 win over El Jaish of Qatar.

El Jaish needed only a draw to progress to the last 16 and was on target at 1-1 until Sardor Rashidov's late volley from inside the box.

Brazilian forward Chimba scored a first-half hat trick, including two penalties, as Foolad Khouzestan topped Group B with a 5-1 win over 10-man Al Fateh, which finished the tournament without a win.

Unbeaten Foolad will next meet Al Sadd in in the second round.

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