Jeonbuk eliminates big-spending Jiangsu with 2-2 draw
JEONJU, South Korea (AP) — South Korean champion Jeonbuk Hyundai drew 2-2 at home against Jiangsu Suning on Wednesday to secure first place in Group E and advance to the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League.
Jiangsu was eliminated from the group stage, just like another big-spending Chinese club, Guangzhou Evergrande.
Brazilian trio Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Jo all played a role in giving Jiangsu a 2-1, but a well-worked corner in the 68th minute resulted in the equalizer.
Jiangsu began the day in second place, but a draw saw the team slip to third behind FC Tokyo, which beat Vietnamese club Binh Duong 2-1.
Jeonbuk won the Asian Champions League in 2006 and was runner-up in 2011.
In Vietnam, two goals from striker Ryuichi Maeda gave Tokyo a spot in the next round.
In Group F, Thai club Buriram United played out a goalless draw with second-place Shandong Luneng, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat group leader FC Seoul 2-1.
FC Seoul and Shandong had already qualified for the next round.
At Taskhent, Uzbekistan, Lokomotiv clinched Group A after a 0-0 draw with Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates, ensuring that both sides advanced to the knockout round.
Lokomotiv had 10 points from its six group games, one point clear of Al Nasr, which sealed second place in the group despite Al Ittihad’s 2-0 win over Sepahan in the group’s other game in Muscat, Oman.
“Today is a historic moment for our team,” Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic said. “No one said we would do it before the tournament ... we were not favorites.”
In a Group B match, Iranian side Zob Ahan finished undefeated and in first place after beating Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr 3-0 in a match played at Dubai. Ehsin Pahlavan and Masoud Hassanzadeh scored first-half goals before Al Nassr goalkeeper Hussain Shaian was sent off in the 60th minute.
Qatar’s Lekhwiya, which finished in second place in Group B, five points behind Zob Ahan, concluded the group stage with a scoreless home draw with Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor.
In first-leg matches in the round of 16 on May 17, Al Nasr hosts Tractorsazi Tabriz of Iran, which qualified first in Group C on Tuesday; Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, which finished second in Group C, hosts Lokomotiv; Chinese side Shanghai SIPG, which won Group G, travels to Japan to play FC Tokyo; Melbourne Victory, second in Group G, hosts Jeonbuk; and Lekhwiya hosts El Jaish in an all-Qatari matchup.
On May 18, Al Ain of Saudi Arabia hosts Zob Ahan, Sydney FC travels to China to play Shandong Luneng and Urawa hosts FC Seoul.