Jeonbuk moves closer to knockout spot at AFC

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Jeonbuk moves closer to knockout spot at AFC

Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors moved closer to a knockout berth at the continent’s top club football tournament on Wednesday.

Jeonbuk defeated Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan 2-1 in Group G action of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, 240 kilometers (149 miles) south of Seoul.

Ricardo Lopes and Kim Shin-wook had a goal apiece for Jeonbuk, which improved to nine points on three wins and a loss, good enough for first place in the group with two matches remaining. Shinzo Koroki had the lone goal for Urawa.

Jeonbuk’s next match will be at Beijing FC on May 7. The group stage concludes on May 22.

The top two clubs from each of the eight groups will advance to the round of 16. Jeonbuk are chasing their first AFC title since 2016 and their third overall.

Jeonbuk had prevailed 1-0 in their previous meeting against Urawa two weeks ago, and Lopes gave the K League 1 club the lead in the 12th minute.

After knocking on the Urawa net a couple more times in the first half, Jeonbuk doubled their lead three minutes into the second half, as striker Kim Shin-wook headed home a Lopes cross.

Koroki cut the deficit in half for Urawa in the 58th but the Japanese club couldn’t get any closer.

One other K League 1 club in action Wednesday, Gyeongnam FC, earned their first-ever Champions League victory by blanking Kashima Antlers 1-0 at Kashima Stadium in Kashima, Japan.

Gyeongnam’s Japanese midfielder Takahiro Kunimoto scored the lone goal of the match in the 63rd minute, as Gyeongnam got into the win column after two wins and a draw in their first Champions League appearance.

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