FC Tokyo grab spot in last 16

FC Tokyo have booked their spot in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League after a 2-1 victory over Becamex Binh Duong.

With the top three sides in Group E separated by just three points heading into the final round of fixtures, FC Tokyo needed to better the result of Jiangsu Suning when they travelled to Vietnam to face the already eliminated Binh Duong. With the men from Tokyo securing the three points and Jiangsu only drawing with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, it’s Jeonbuck and FC Tokyo who progress to the knockout phase.

The J. League outfit opened the scoring in the 21st minute, with Kento Hashimoto setting up Ryoichi Maeda. Hashimoto was played in down the right of the area and with Binh Duong keeper Bui Tan Truong rushing off his line to meet the midfielder, Hashimoto was able to square the ball to Maeda who made no mistake in heading home into an empty net.

The conditions in Thu Dau Mot were sweltering, and the players took a water break after the half hour mark as the heat took its toll.

Maeda made it 2-0 in the 55th minute, with the striker pouncing on a stray back pass before driving towards goal and making just enough room for himself before unleashing a left-footed effort from the edge of the area that Truong could not keep out.

There would be nervous moments for Hiroshi Jofuku’s side though, with Binh Duong pulling a goal back from the penalty spot in the 68th minute. Referee Adham Makhadmeh pointed to the spot after Christian Amougou was brought down in the area, and Lê Công Vinh emphatically fired home the resulting spot kick.

With Jeonbuk grabbing a late equaliser against Jiangsu, it was FC Tokyo who moved into to the last 16 while the Chinese Super League side were left to rue what might have been.