Asian Champions League: Al Ittihad, Al Sadd & Gamba Osaka reach last 16

May 12, 2011 | In: Articles

Al Ittihad, Al Sadd, and Gamba Osaka are among the teams to have qualified for the last 16 after some convincing performances in the midweek round of fixtures as the winners and losers were settled in the AFC Champions League.

Al Jazira 1-4 Sepahan

Sepahan rallied from a goal down to post an emphatic 4-1 victory over Al Jazira and top the 2011 AFC Champions League Group A on Wednesday.

Brazilian Bare opened the scoring for the hosts after 14 minutes but Javad Kazemian got Sepahan level just after the half-hour mark before the visitors turned the screw after the break.

Senegal’s Ibrahima Toure scored twice and Reza Enayati completed the 4-1 win for the Iranian champions at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium, sealing top spot despite Al Hilal’s positive result against Al Gharafa.

Al Hilal 2-0 Al Gharafa

Al Hilal secured their place in the last 16 of the 2011 AFC Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Al Gharafa at King Fahd International Stadium.

Needing just a point to go through, second-half goals from Yasser Al Qahtani and Ahmed Al Fraidi were enough to see off the Qataris in the Group A encounter and book a trip to Jeddah rivals Al Ittihad in the last 16.

Al Ain 3-1 Nagoya Grampus

Al Ain signed off their 2011 AFC Champions League campaign with a 3-1 win over Japan’s Nagoya Grampus, a result which ended the visitors’ hopes of topping Group F.

With Grampus and Seoul FC level on 10 points before the game, the Japanese were keen to win and seal a home tie in the last 16 after the Koreans could only draw at Hangzhou Greentown.

It was Al Ain who drew first blood and the goal came from a classy move.

Bandar Al Ahbabi found Ibrahima Keita with a forward pass and the Cote d’Ivoire player helped it forward to the advancing Al Ahbabi. He then found Hamad Al Merri who volleyed into the far corner from outside the box, giving the keeper no chance.

Al Ain’s Elias sent Valentin Badea down the left and then raced into the box to receive the return pass and flick it home for a 2-0 lead.

The Japanese, however, struck soon after the break when a long ball caught the Al Ain defence on the back foot and Jungo Fujimoto reduced the margin.

But Al Ain restored their two-goal cushion in the very next minute when Genta Matsuo brought down Haddaf Abdullah inside the box and a penalty was awarded. Elias coolly slammed the ball into the roof of the net for his second goal and Al Ain were 3-1 winners.

Esteghlal 2-1 Al Nassr

Esteghlal ended their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 victory over Al Nassr at the Azadi Stadium, but it was not sufficient to seal a place in the last 16 as they lost out to their Saudi opponents on goal difference.

Badar Al Motawa opened the scoring on the hour mark before Farhad Majidi in the 62nd and Hawar Mulla Mohammed in the 89th minutes turned the match around for Esteghlal.

Hangzhou Greentown 1-1 FC Seoul

A stoppage-time header from youngster Zeng Yue cost FC Seoul two points as they were forced to share the spoils with Hangzhou Greentown in a 1-1 draw at Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Stadium in Group F.

Bang Seung-Hwan volleyed home from 15 yards midway through the second-half before Zeng headed Wang Song’s free-kick into the net in the dying minutes.

Pakhtakor 1-1 Al Sadd

Al Sadd sealed top spot in Group B and a home tie against Al Shabab as Madji Siddiq’s stoppage-time goal snatched a 1-1 draw with eliminated Pakhtakor at Pakhtakor Stadium.

In a drab match, the home side took the lead in the 58th minute through Stanislav Andreev’s penalty and looked to be on course for all three points until Siddiq’s late free-kick caught out substitute keeper Eldor Tadjibaev.

Jeju United 1-1 Melbourne Victory

Jeju United and Melbourne Victory both exited the 2011 AFC Champions League after an entertaining 1-1 draw at Jeju World Cup Stadium on Wednesday.

Kim Eun-Jung gave the Korea Republic team a first-half lead and Diego Ferreira levelled proceedings on the hour though in the end it was all academic as Group E rivals Gamba Osaka defeated Tianjin Teda 2-0 as both teams progressed to the second round.

Gamba Osaka 2-0 Tianjin Teda

Gamba Osaka set up a Champions League derby against Cerezo Osaka as they beat Tianjin Teda of China 2-0 on Wednesday to qualify for the last 16.

Japan international Yasuhito Endo opened the scoring and substitute forward Takashi Usami’s stoppage-time penalty 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.

Here is the complete schedule for the last 16 matches:

May 24

Sepahan (Iran) vs Bunyodkor (Uzbekistan)
Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) vs Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
Gamba Osaka (Japan) vs Cerezo Osaka (Japan)
Jeonbuk Motors (Korea Republic) vs Tianjin Teda (China)

May 25

Al Sadd (Qatar) vs Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia)
Zob Ahan (Iran) vs Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia)
FC Seoul (Korea Republic) vs Kashima Antlers (Japan)
Suwon Bluewings (Korea Republic) vs Nagoya Grampus (Japan)

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