By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Jeonbuk Motors failed in their bid to add the Asian Champions League to their South Korean league and cup double as Yokohama F Marinos handed Jose Morais' side a 4-1 thrashing to advance to the knockout stage on Tuesday.
Jeonbuk, previously two-time Asian champions, needed a win against the 2019 Japanese champions to keep alive their hopes of completing a remarkable treble.
But Theerathon Bunmathan’s long range effort and Marcos Junior’s left foot strike put Ange Postecoglou’s side two goals up inside the first 51 minutes. Jeonbuk halved the deficit three minutes later when Gustavo converted from the penalty spot.
However, Teruhito Nakagawa restored Marinos' two goal lead 17 minutes from time and Ado Onaiwu added a late fourth.
The win for Marinos means the Japanese club advance to the knockout rounds for the first time and are all-but assured of top spot in the Group H after second-placed Shanghai SIPG lost 4-0 to already-eliminated Sydney FC.
Sydney impressed to pick up their first win of the campaign, although their victory was marred by the loss of goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic in a clash of heads with SIPG’s Yu Rui.
Pavlesic was carried off in a neck brace before goals from Alex Wilkinson, Luke Brattan and two from Trent Buhagiar earned Steve Corica's side victory.
SIPG take on Jeonbuk on Friday needing a massive win while hoping Yokohama lose heavily to Sydney to overturn a 10 goal difference and claim top spot.
Meanwhile, Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande were held to a 1-1 draw by Suwon Bluewings.
Wei Shihao scored 18 minutes from time to salvage a point for the Chinese Super League side after Lim Sang-hyub had given the South Koreans the lead. The draw means Guangzhou maintain their three-point lead over Suwon.
With only three teams in Group G following the withdrawal of Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, Suwon can claim second place with a two-goal victory over group winners Vissel Kobe when they meet on Friday.
The knockout stage of the tournament, which features 15 teams from east Asia and is being held in a biosecure bubble in Doha after play was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, begins on Sunday.
The final will be hosted in Qatar on Dec. 19, with the leading team from the east taking on Iran’s Persepolis after they advanced to the decider during a centralised event for teams from the west in October.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)