Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - Page 18 News List

Pohang Steelers reach ACL last 16

AP , KUALA LUMPUR

Defending champions the Pohang Steelers and Adelaide United each ensured a place in the next stage of the Asian Champions League with a scoreless draw on Tuesday, when Japan’s Gamba Osaka also advanced and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal became the first West zone team into the round of 16.

Pohang’s progress means all four South Korean clubs are into the second round of the tournament. Adelaide, the 2008 finalists, needed the away draw to secure its spot from Group H.

Suwon Bluewings had a clean sheet and an unbeaten record through four matches until a 2-1 loss to Gamba Osaka, allowing both clubs to progress with a game to spare in Group G.

Takashi Usami scored the late winner for 2008 champion Gamba, which leads the group with 11 points from five matches, one clear of Suwon.

In the other Group G match, Singapore Armed Forces beat China’s Henan Jianye 2-1.

Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal became the first team from West Asia to secure a place in the second round this year when Iranian club Mes Kerman lost 2-1 to Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates. Al Hilal, which was then held to a scoreless draw by Al Sadd of Qatar, has a four-point buffer atop Group D with only one more match remaining.

Eight teams have already qualified for the second round, but none so far in Group C.

Pakhtakor’s 3-2 win over Al Ain, combined with Al Shabab’s 1-0 away loss to Sepahan in Iran, means that three teams remain in contention for a second-round berth in the last group matches later this month.

Odil Ahmedov’s hat-trick helped Uzbek club Pakhtakor hold off Al Ain, with all five goals in the match scored in the opening 30 minutes.

Pakhtakor leads with 10 points, one clear of Sepahan and two ahead of Shabab, leaving only 2003 champion Al Ain with no chance of progressing from Group C.

In yesterday’s matches, unbeaten Kashima Antlers was bidding to continue their winning streak when they traveled to Changhcun Yatai in Group F, with Jeonbuk Motors hosting Indonesia’s Persipura Jayapure at Jeonju.

In Group E, unbeaten Seongnam Ilhwa traveled to Kawasaki and Melbourne Victory hosted Beijing Guoan.

Group B leader Zohahan of Iran was away at Al Wahda and Al Ittihad hosted Uzbek giant Bunyodkor.

In Group A, Esteghlal hosted Al Ahli and Al Gharafa faced Al Jazira.

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