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December 2, 2020

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Jeonbuk ousted, SIPG thumped

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors failed in their bid to add the AFC 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 yesterday.

Jeonbuk, a two-time Asian champion, needed a win against the 2019 Japanese champion to keep alive its 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 advances to the knockout rounds for the first time and is all-but assured of top spot in Group H after second-placed Shanghai SIPG lost 0-4 to already-eliminated Sydney FC.

Sydney impressed to pick up its first win of the campaign, although its victory was marred by the loss of goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic in a clash of heads with SIPG defender 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 takes on Jeonbuk on Friday needing a massive win while hoping Yokohama loses heavily to Sydney to overturn a 10-goal difference and claim top spot.

Meanwhile, Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande was held to a 1-1 draw by Suwon Samsung 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 maintains its three-point lead over Suwon.

Guangzhou coach Cannavaro was once again at a loss to explain his team’s showing.

“I am not happy because the performance of my team in the first half was not so good,” said the former Italy international. “We didn’t control the game and we didn’t even try to play football. Even in defense we did not play well. I don’t want to find excuses.”

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 winner Vissel Kobe in Friday’s clash.

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 the Qatari capital on December 19, with the leading team from the east taking on Iran’s Persepolis after it advanced to the decider during a centralized event for teams from the west in October.


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