Shanghai SIPG, Jeonbuk Motors march on into Round of 16

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Shanghai SIPG are through to the AFC Champions League Round of 16 after playing out a 1-1 draw with Kawasaki Frontale in Group F on Wednesday.

Following a goalless first half at the Shanghai Stadium which saw Hulk uncharacteristically blaze over from the penalty spot, it was the hosts who drew first blood in the 68th minute.

Making amends for his miss, Hulk broke into the box after receiving possession from Oscar before squaring a pass for Elkeson to finish past Jung Sung-ryong.

Nonetheless, Kawasaki equalised in the 74th minute as Kei Chinen found a yard of space inside the box to head home a Kentaro Moriya cross, which proved enough to earn them a share of the spoils.

Still, the point was enough to guarantee SIPG top spot in Group F – and a place in the knockout round – with a game to spare.

Ulsan Hyundai are also through from the same group as they claimed an emphatic 6-2 win over Melbourne Victory at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium.

Producing their best display thus far this season, Ulsan were inspired by braces from Junior Negrao and Mislav Orsic with Lim Jong-eun and Kim Seung-jun also on target, while Victory netted consolations through Kenny Athiu and Kosta Barbarouses.

Over in Group E, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors also secured their place in the last-16 with a clinical 2-0 victory over Kashiwa Reysol at the Kashiwa Soccer Stadium.

Ricard Lopes opened the scoring for Jeonbuk when he finished on the rebound from a couple of yards out, having initially spurned a couple of chances as he miscued his first attempt and then fired off the foot of the post.

And, in the 77th minute, veteran striker Lee Dong-gook sealed the win as he met Kim Min-jae’s left-wing cross with a fine first-time volley past Kazushige Kirihata.

Jeonbuk will be joined in the Round of 16 by Tianjin Quanjian as they secured progress with a last-gasp win over Kitchee.

It initially looked as though the Chinese outfit would be denied by a stubborn Kitchee outfit until the 89th minute when Kwon Kyung-won helped a cross into the path of Anthony Modeste, who guided the ball over the line with a stooping header.