Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

AFC: Korean clubs continue to dominate

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on May 13, 2010
Mauricio Molina

Mauricio Molina scored twice in Seongnam's 3-0 victory over Gamba Osaka

The AFC Champions League round of 16 has taken place over the last two days. Unlike in the later knockout rounds which are of a two-legged nature each tie in this round is decided over one game so it is always crucial to gain home advantage in this stage of the competition. “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” looks back at an action-packed Round of 16 :

On Tuesday there was success for two of the four South Korean clubs involved as Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Suwon Samsug Bluewings negotiated their way past Gamba Osaka and Beijing Guo’an respectively. Mauricio Molina (pictured) was the hero for Seongnam scoring two of their three goals, Song Ho-Young scoring the other, as the 2009 K-League runners-up brushed aside the challenge of Gamba Osaka by a 3-0 scoreline. José Mota was the main man for Suwon by bagging a brace in the 2-0 win over Chinese champions Beijing Gou’an. The Brazilian scoring once in each half to secure a berth in the quarter-finals for the Bluewings. Elsewhere Al-Gharafa, recently crowned champions of Qatar for the seventh time, were thankful to Brazilian striker Araújo as his 86th winner proved too much for Uzbek side Pakhtakor Tashkent. The final game on Tuesday saw Saudi Arabians Al-Shabab defeat Iranian outfit Esteghlal 3-2 in a topsy-turvy game, Waleed Al Jeizani scoring the winner with two minutes of the match remaining.

Wednesday saw the continuing dominance of South Korean clubs in the tournament as defending champions Pohang Steelers, who beat Japan’s Kashima Antlers 1-0, are joined in the last eight by compatriots Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors who won by the odd goal in five against sole Australian representatives Adelaide United. In a dramatic finish to the game Eninho thought he’d won it at the death scoring for Jeonbuk in the 88th minute to make it 2-1 only for Serginho Van Dijk to equalize five minutes into stoppage time to send the game into extra-time. Dong Gook-Lee sealed the deal for Jeonbuk deep into extra-time to complete a full quartet of Korean clubs to go through to the quarter-finals. In the other matches Uzbek champions Bunyodkor’s Champions League dream is over after they went down 3-0 to Al-Hilal, frustrating coach “Big Phil” Scolari’s ambitions to match domestic superiority with continental glory. Finally, in the all-Iranian clash, Zob Ahan left it late to dispose of Sanat Mes Kerman, Igor scoring the deciding goal in the 86th minute to send the home side through to the last eight.

The 2010 AFC Cup, Asia’s equivalent of the UEFA Europa League or Copa Sudamericana, has also reached its Round of 16 stage.  On Tuesday there were wins for Al-Riffa (Bahrain), Muangthong United (Thailand), Kazma SC (Kuwait) and Al-Karamah (Syria) whilst Wednesday saw the defending champions Al-Kuwait go out of the tournament after they lost out in a penalty shoot-out to Al-Ittihad (Syria). An all-Vietnamese affair saw Đá Nẵng get the better of domestic rivals Bình Dương in a seven goal thriller, Indian representatives Churchill Brothers went out to Kuwait’s Al Qadsia losing by two goals to one and Thai Port (Thailand) came from behind to claim a 4-1 away victory at Indonesia’s Sriwijaya. The draw for the quarter-finals of bth tournaments will take place on May 25th in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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