Sports News

Beijing maintain perfect record to advance in Asian Champions League

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Beijing Guoan brushed aside Melbourne Victory on Friday as they handed the Australians a 2-0 defeat to confirm their place in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League while South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai also moved to the verge qualifying for the competition’s next phase.

The Chinese Super League side joined Japan’s Vissel Kobe by securing their place in the knockout rounds of the tournament, which is being held on a centralised basis in Doha after play was suspended earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera gave Bruno Genesio’s side the lead with nine minutes on the clock when he finished off a flowing move with a shot into the bottom corner that left goalkeeper Max Crocombe flatfooted.

Ten minutes before the break Zhang Yuning doubled Beijing’s advantage when he took Viera’s pass with his back to goal before turning and shooting low and to the left of Crocombe.

The win means Beijing top group E with a maximum 12 points from four games while Chiangrai United reignited their hopes with a last-gasp 2-1 win over former finalists FC Seoul.

An 89th minute goal from Brazilian striker Bill – his second of the game – earned the side from Thailand their first-ever win in the competition as they moved level with Melbourne and to within three points of second-placed FC Seoul.

Ulsan Hyundai, meanwhile, picked up their third win in four games with a 2-0 victory over Perth Glory to take command of group F, with Kim Do-hoon’s side three points ahead of second-placed FC Tokyo.

Ulsan needed a pair of late goals for the second game in a row to see off the Australians, claiming all three points three days after defeating Richard Garcia’s side in their previous meeting.

Junior Negrao fed Kim In-sung to score as Ulsan hit Perth on the break three minutes from time and, two minutes later, the Brazilian was on hand to score from 10 yards out after a layoff from Bjorn Johnsen.

FC Tokyo moved into second following their 2-1 win over Shanghai Shenhua, which came courtesy of second-half goals from Leandro and Shuto Abe. Perth remain pointless at the bottom of the group and are now out of the reckoning for a last 16 berth.

Doha is hosting 15 teams from the east of Asia in the postponed Asian Champions League, with the group phase continuing until Dec. 4. The knockout rounds begin on December 6, with the final to be played on Dec. 19.

Iranian club Persepolis have already qualified for the decider after advancing through the western half of the draw in October.

Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Larry King