Soccer-Jeonbuk ease into last 16 as Cerezo Osaka also advance

·2-min read

By Michael Church

(Reuters) - Twice winners Jeonbuk Motors booked their place in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League in Tashkent on Wednesday after easing to a 3-1 win over Chiangrai United as Japan's Cerezo Osaka also confirmed their place in the next round.

Mo Barrow and Park Jin-seong scored either side of an own goal from goalkeeper Apirak Worawong to give Jeonbuk a comfortable lead inside the first 35 minutes as Kim Sang-sik's side eased to victory.

With one round of matches remaining in Group H, the win means table-toppers Jeonbuk cannot be overtaken, with Japan's Gamba Osaka confirming second place with an 8-1 thrashing of Tampines Rovers.

Shuhei Kawasaki scored a hat-trick for the J-League side against the outgunned Singaporeans, who have now conceded 24 goals in five games.

However, Pohang Steelers will have to wait to see if they advance to the knockout rounds after securing a late 1-1 draw in Bangkok with already-qualified Nagoya Grampus in Group G.

Borys Tashchy capitalised on a defensive error two minutes from time to earn the South Koreans a draw and move Pohang onto 11 points from six games.

The winners of each of the five groups being played in the east Asian half of the competition advance to the knockout rounds, where they will be joined by the three teams with the best runners-up records.

Wednesday's results mean Group J leaders Cerezo Osaka go through to the last 16 regardless of the result of their meeting with Kitchee on Friday.

Levir Culpi's side have 13 points and, even if they lose against the Hong Kong champions and finish second, that total will be enough to take one of the best runners-up spots.

Group stage matches in the Asian Champions League for clubs from the east of the continent are currently being played in biosecure hubs in Thailand and Uzbekistan.

West Asian sides completed their group phase commitments in April and the tournament's Round of 16 is scheduled to be played from Sept. 14 to 16.

Quarter-final and semi-final matches will be held in centralised venues in October with the final to be played on Nov. 23.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Toby Davis)

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