ACL 2015 Group Stage – Match Day 5 Recap

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Group A

Bunyodkor 0-1 Al Nassr
Lekhwiya 3-0 Persepolis

Wednesday’s results left Lekhwiya, Persepolis, and Al Nassr separated by two points, while Bunyodkor are officially out of contention to escape the group.

The Uzbek side gave up a first half goal to Adrian Mierzejewski, finishing the match short-handed after defender Anvar Gafurov was shown a second yellow card. Meanwhile, Qatari champions Lekhwiya earned revenge for Persepolis’ 3-0 home win in February with an equally lopsided result in Doha as all three goals came in the second half.

Group A Standings

1. Lekhwiya 10pts (+2)
2. Persepolis 9pts (-1)
3. Al Nassr 8pts (+3)
4. Bunyodkor 1pt (-4)

 

Group B

A draw against Naft Tehran means that Pakhtakor will be cheering for Al Ain to get a favorable result against the Iranians on the final match day, while Al Shabab’s dreams have officially ended.

Naft and Pakhtakor finished 1-1 in Azadi Stadium, with both goals coming in the first half. In Riyadh, Asamoah Gyan was the lone scorer for Al Ain, who took over the top position in the group but will still need to avoid a loss to Naft if they hope for a favorable seed in the Round of 16.

Group B Standings

1. Al Ain 9pts (+2)
2. Naft Tehran 8pts (+3)
3. Pakhtakor 6pts (0)
4. Al Shabab 2pts (-5)

 

Group C

Lokomotiv 1-2 Al Hilal
Al Sadd 1-0 Foolad

Al Sadd and Al Hilal booked their places in the Round of 16, and will face off on May 5 to determine who finishes on top of Group C.

2014 runners-up Al Hilal had no issue coping with the CAS-confirmed suspension of Nasser Al Shamrani, scoring twice against Lokomotiv in the second half and absorbing a late consolation goal by Temurkhuja Abdukholikov. Al Sadd needed just one goal to defeat the Iranians, this time scored by former Guangzhou Evergrande striker Muriqui.

Group C Standings

1. Al Sadd 10pts (+1)
2. Al Hilal 10pts (+4)
3. Lokomotiv 4pts (-2)
4. Foolad 3pts (-3)

 

Group D

Tractor Sazi 1-2 Nasaf
Al Ahli (KSA) 2-1 Al Ahli (UAE)

Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli have guaranteed themselves first place in the group, while Iran’s Tractor Sazi are officially eliminated from contention and UAE’s Al Ahli still have a fighting chance.

The Saudis won 2-1 over their similarly-named rivals in an intense encounter in Jeddah, while Tractor Sazi fell 2-1 to Uzbekistan’s Nasaf at home to seal their exit. The Emiratis will need a win against the Iranians and a Nasaf loss at home if they are to return to their first Club World Cup since 2009.

Group D Standings

1. Al Ahli (KSA) 11pts (+4)
2. Nasaf 7pts (0)
3. Al Ahli (UAE) 5pts (-1)
4. Tractor Sazi 4pts (-3)

Group E

Kashiwa Reysol 3-2 Jeonbuk Motors
Shandong Luneng 3-1 Becamex Binh Duong

2013 semi-finalists Reysol became the first J-League side to book their spot in the Round of 16, while Shandong Luneng still control their own destiny after a solid home win against Binh Duong.

Reysol shocked the K-League champions with three first half goals at Kashiwa Stadium including a Kosuke Taketomi brace, but the visitors kept it close to the bitter end thanks to two fantastic strikes by Lee Dong-gook. Shandong Luneng did well to overcome an early deficit against their Vietnamese opponents, and can progress to the knockout tournament with a win at Jeonbuk on May 6. The two goals by Yang Xu saw the Chinese forward join Guangzhou Evergrande’s Ricardo Goulart as top goalscorer of the tournament.

Group E Standings

1. Kashiwa Reysol 11pts (+6)
2. Jeonbuk Motors 8pts (+5)
3. Shandong Luneng 7pts (-1)
4. Becamex Binh Duong 1pt (-10)

 

Group F

Seongnam FC 2-1 Buriram United
Guangzhou R&F 0-5 Gamba Osaka

Seongnam FC took over the top spot in the group after besting Buriram United at home, while Gamba Osaka re-inserted themselves into the battle for a Round of 16 spot after a resounding road win at Guangzhou R&F.

Seongnam found their lead in the 27th minute through a Kim Do-heon PK, adding to the advantage 11 minutes later through Nam Jun-jae. A Diogo goal with 13 minutes remaining was not enough to help the Thai side salvage a draw. Meanwhile, Gamba ran rampant at Yuexiushan Stadium with Patric and Hiroyuki Abe both recording doubles and Takashi Usami recording one goal and one assist.

Group F Standings

1. Seongnam FC 10pts (+3)
2. Gamba Osaka 7pts (+2)
3. Buriram United 7pts (0)
4. Guangzhou R&F 4pts (-5)

 

Group G

Western Sydney Wanderers 1-2 Kashima Antlers
FC Seoul 0-0 Guangzhou Evergrande

Western Sydney failed to hold their first half lead as Kashima Antlers leapfrogged the defending champions of , but were left with hope to progress from the group stages as Guangzhou Evergrande held FC Seoul to a draw.

Nikita Rukavytsya opened the scoring at a rain-soaked and windswept Parramatta Stadium after Yojiro Takagi’s pass was fortunate to squeeze through the Kashima defence, but Shoma Doi and Mu Kanazaki were able to find themselves one-on-one with Ante Covic to get their second win of the group stages. Guangzhou Evergrande qualified for the Round of 16 with a scoreless draw to guarantee top spot. Western Sydney will have to do without Kerem Bulut for the final Group Stage match against Evergrande after he reached the limit for yellow cards.

Group G Standings

1. Guangzhou Evergrande 10pts (+2)
2. FC Seoul 6pts (0)
3. Kashima Antlers 6pts (0)
4. Western Sydney Wanderers 5pts (0)

 

Group H

Urawa Reds 1-2 Suwon Bluewings
Beijing Guoan 0-1 Brisbane Roar

Urawa Reds dropped their lead to Suwon Samsung Bluewings to find themselves out of the running for a Round of 16 place, while Brisbane Roar kept themselves in with a chance after travelling to Beijing Guoan and bringing home three points.

Kaio turned the match around for Suwon in a game full of headers, as his and Koo Cha-won’s headers negated Zlatan Ljubijankic’s header for the struggling Japanese side. Brisbane Roar’s Andrija Kaluderovic made his one-on-one with Yang Zhi look easy as his 39th minute goal for the A-Legue champions was enough to topple the Chinese table-toppers.

Group H Standings

1. Beijing Guoan 10pts (+3)
2. Suwon Bluewings 10pts (+3)
3. Brisbane Roar 7pts (-1)
4. Urawa Reds 1pt (-5)

(Ryan Steele and Dan Orlowitz contributed to this recap)

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