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Yokohama F Marinos entered the knockout phase of the Asian Champions League for the first time in its history on Tuesday and defeated two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-1 in the clash of Group H.
Yokohama’s Thai defender Theerathon Bunmathan thundered in the 17th. Minute with a shot from the edge of the box to set the tone before three goals in the second half knocked 2006 and 2016 winner Jeonbuk out of the tournament.
« It is a great achievement and credit to the players as it is the first time the club has left the group stage, » said Yokohama coach Ange Postecoglou.
« We started very well and put pressure on them, scored a goal – a good goal from Bunmathan.
« We missed a few chances in the first half, which always keeps our opponents in the game, but in the second half we were a little smarter, coped with our counterattacks very well and scored three good goals.
Jeonbuk isn’t just the first East Asian team to win the Champions League when it started in its current format in 2003. She is also an eight-time K League winner, a South Korean record that includes four straight titles as of 2017.
But at the Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday, her only bright moment came in 54. Minute when Gustavo shot home from the penalty spot three minutes after Marcos Junior gave Yokohama a 2-0 lead.
Teruhito Nagakawa’s goal in 71. Minute and an own goal by Song, whose attempted header found his own net seven minutes before the end, confirmed Jeonbuk’s exit.
« The team gave what was possible with the contingent we have, » complained Jeonbuk coach Jose Morais.
« In the first half, we strategically contained Yokohama’s offensive game, which is a big game and a quality game. «
« In the second half the result was not enough to move us forward and we took more risks. «
Sydney FC wondered why they couldn’t get their groove on at the start of the tournament after beating Shanghai SIPG 4-0 which boosted morale.
Sydney have already been eliminated from Group H without a single win in their last four games and boasted against SIPG, who qualified in second place ahead of Tuesday’s game after Yokohama’s win over Jeonbuk Hyundai.
Alex Wilkinson and Nathan Brattan put the A-League champions 2-0 ahead in the first half before a brace from Trent Buhagiar sealed their win at Al Janoub Stadium.
« They go through it, we don’t, but we are proud of what the players have achieved tonight, » said Sydney coach Steve Corica.
In Group G, the Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande and the South Korean Suwon Samsung Bluewings played a 1-1 draw at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Lim Sang-hyub brought Suwon in 53. In the lead, Wei Shihao took the 72nd minute. Minute, with the help of Ai Kesen, parity for Guangzhou was restored.
The result means that the group’s second qualification place will be decided on Friday. The Bluewings need at least a 2-0 win to face Vissel Kobe from Japan in the round of 16.
« I’m not happy because my team wasn’t that good in the first half, » said the Italian grandly.
« We didn’t control the game or even try to play football. We didn’t play well in defense either. I don’t want to find any excuses. «
Suwons Park Kun-ha lamented the fact that his team wasn’t making the most of the opportunities they had.
« We scored the first goal and then unfortunately conceded the equalizer. We had a lot of chances in the end but couldn’t win. «
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC, AFC Champions League, Yokohama F. . Marinos, Shanghai SIPG F. . C.. . , Sydney FC, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao F. . C.. . , Theerathon Bunmathan
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