Jeonbuk Hyundai earns spot in knockout round of AFC Champions League
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors secured their spot in the knockout round of the AFC Champions League despite being held to a 1-1 draw against Japanese side Yokohama on Sunday at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Jeonbuk is scheduled to face Daegu FC next in the round of 16 in August.
Just four minutes into the match, Anderson Lopes of Yokohama opened the scoring, using his left foot from just outside the box to pass Jeonbuk goalkeeper Song Bum-keun.
Seven minutes later, Kim Bo-kyung of Jeonbuk leveled the score with a well placed pass from teammate Ryu Jae-moon.
Despite both goals being scored within ten minutes of the match, both teams remained surprisingly silent in the latter half. Jeonbuk recorded a 40 percent ball possession while trying six shots, two of which were on target. Yokohama had 10 shots, four of which were on target.
Going into Sunday's match, pride and bragging rights were the main thing on the line as Jeonbuk and Yokohama were the top two of Group H with Jeonbuk just one point behind the Japanese side.
The two K League teams advancing to the round of 16 — Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Daegu FC — will face each other in the round of 16. Daegu earned their seat in the knockout round after beating Lion City Sailors 2-1 at Buriram Stadium in Buriram, Thailand on Saturday.
On Saturday, Daegu came from a goal behind to beat the Singaporean side, scoring two goals in the second half to hold on to the top spot in Group F.
Korea-born Singaporean footballer Song Ui-young opened the scoring for Lion City Sailors in the first half, picking up a deflection 20 yards out and hammering it into the net.
Daegu bounced back after the break, with substitute Lee Keun-ho scoring the equalizer. The chance came in the 54th minute when Hong Chul, who returned from suspension for the game, lifted a cross across the box and Lee headed it home.
Rain interrupted play 20 minutes later and the game had to be halted for an hour. Just minutes after returning following the deluge, Lion City were called out on a foul inside the box, giving Daegu a penalty and a chance to take the lead.
Zeca stepped up to the spot for Daegu, converting the spot-kick to hand the K League club a 2-1 win and ensure their spot in the round of 16.
Ulsan Hyundai and the Jeonnam Dragons, the two other teams in the continental tournament, have both been eliminated.
Ulsan, winners of the 2020 Champions League, were eliminated on Saturday after losing 2-1 to Malaysian club Johor Darul Ta'zim.
The loss left Ulsan in third place in Group I on 10 points, one behind Kawasaki Frontale on 11 and three behind Johor in first place.
FA Cup winners Jeonnam Dragons held group leaders BG Pathum United to a 0-0 draw on Saturday. The draw left Jeonnam in third place in Group G, ending their tournament early.
The Champions League is divided into East and West divisions for the group stage and the early part of the knockout stage. With eight teams advancing from the five eastern groups, only the top team in each group is guaranteed a spot. The three best second-place teams will also advance.
The knockout stage of the 2022 AFC Champions League is scheduled to begin for the eastern division teams on Aug. 18.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]