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Frontale packs off champion Gamba

REIGNING champion Gamba Osaka was knocked out of the Asian Champions League yesterday, while two South Korean clubs progressed to the quarterfinals.

Gamba was beaten 2-3 by fellow Japanese rival Kawasaki Frontale, which scored two late goals for a memorable comeback victory.

South Korea's Pohang Steelers crushed Australia's Newcastle Jets 6-0 and FC Seoul prevailed in a penalty shootout over Japan's Kashima Antlers after a 2-2 draw.

Nagoya Grampus of Japan also won through to the last eight with a 2-1 win over South Korea's Suwon Bluewings.

Frontale triumphed over Gamba thanks to a late winner by substitute Masaru Kurotsu, who scored with a left-foot drive from 15 meters with just five minutes remaining.

Gamba's Brazilian striker Leandro scored a pair of first-half goals either side of Kengo Nakamura's effort for Frontale, putting the defending champion up 2-1.

That lead lasted until the 76th minute when Frontale's own Brazilian forward Renatinho equalized, setting the stage for Kurotsu's winner.

Like Gamba, Suwon was another former winner eliminated, beaten by Nagoya.

Yoshizumi Ogawa gave Nagoya the lead in the first half, converting a pass from Davi in the 22nd. Japan international Keiji Tamada doubled the advantage in the 66th with a powerful left-foot drive from 15 meters.

Couldn't score

Brazilian Edu pulled one back for Suwon in the 69th but it couldn't score again.

In Kashima, Park Yong-ho scored the winner in a lengthy and dramatic penalty shootout as Seoul knocked out Kashima.

After Kashima defender Atsuto Uchida fired high over the net with his penalty, Park beat goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata to give the South Koreans a 5-4 shootout win after extra time ended with the teams locked 2-2.

Kashima led from the fifth minute when Shinzo Kuroki scored, but Lee Seung-ryul equalized in the 22nd.

Takeshi Aoki gave Kashima a 2-1 lead with a header from a corner early in the second half but Ki Sung-yong pulled the visitors even with a freekick from 30 meters in the 78th.

In the shootout, both teams missed their opening shots, and Kashima its second, giving Seoul the advantage until Adilson missed for the visitors, leaving the teams tied 2-2 after four shots each. Both scored in the fifth and sixth rounds, then Uchida blazed over and Park found the net.

In Pohang, the Steelers dominated out-of-season Newcastle, with Choi Hyo-jin scoring a hattrick.

Pohang is one of two former champions left in the competition, along with Saudi Arabia's al-Ittihad, which won in last month's West Asian round-of-16 games that also saw Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor and Pakhtakor progress along with Qatar's Umm Salal.


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