HONG KONG (Reuters) - Yokohama F Marinos were made to wait to confirm their place in the knockout rounds of the Asian Champions League on Saturday after the Japanese side fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Shanghai SIPG in Doha.
Victory would have confirmed progress to the last 16 for Ange Postecoglou’s side from group H, but goals from Cai Huikang and Ricardo Lopes meant the Chinese Super League side picked up the three points.
Shanghai are now level on nine points with Yokohama, with both teams five points ahead of Jeonbuk Motors with two rounds of matches remaining. SIPG’s win means Australian champions Sydney FC are eliminated.
SIPG captain Cai gave his side the lead after 14 minutes with a close-range header only for Ado Onaiwu to level seven minutes later with a shot that squirmed under Shanghai goalkeeper Chen Wai.
But Lopes claimed the winner 10 minutes into the second half when he received a return pass from substitute Oscar before sending his shot beyond Obi Powell Obinna.
Earlier in the day, two-time champions Guangzhou Evergrande moved to within one win of the next round as Fabio Cannavaro’s side handed Vissel Kobe a 2-0 defeat in group G three days after losing to the Japanese side.
Anderson Talisca’s penalty gave Guangzhou the lead before Elkeson fired his free kick into the top corner of Hiroki Iikura’s goal to earn the Chinese side victory over already-qualified Kobe.
“Everybody fought a lot and at last we managed to get the victory, so we’re happy for the team,” said Guangzhou’s Mei Fang.
A win against South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings on Tuesday will take the 2013 and 2015 champions into the next round alongside their Japanese counterparts.
Group G features three teams after Johor Darul Ta’zim were not allowed to travel for the competition by the Malaysian government due to restrictions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are the only club not in Doha for the resumption of play after the format was switched to a centralised set-up.
Play in the group stages will continue until Dec. 4, with the knockout rounds starting on Dec. 6 and the final on Dec. 19.
Iranian champions Persepolis have already qualified for the decider after progressing through a similar competition for teams from the west of the continent in October.
(This story corrects to remove reference to Marinos being Japanese champions in headline and first paragraph. Kawasaki Frontale won the J.League title on Nov. 25)
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Hugh Lawson
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