ACL Round of 16: First Leg Day 1 Recap

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Suwon Samsung FC v Kashiwa Reysol - AFC Champions League Round of 16

Home sides struggled on Tuesday night as eight teams faced off in the 2015 AFC Champions League’s Round of 16.

Jeonbuk Motors 1-1 Beijing Guoan
(12′ Kim Kee-hee / 86′ Batalla)

At Jeonju World Cup Stadium, the defending K League champions led after just 12 minutes through Kim Kee-hee’s header. The midfielder’s ball came from a Leonardo free kick, with Beijing goalkeeper Yang Zhi unable to react.

Guoan nearly equalised before the interval, but Swedish striker Erton Fejzullahu’s shot went over the net in an agonising one-on-one encounter with goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae.

Jeonbuk captain Lee Dong-gook had to come off early in the second half with an injury, and replacement Edu nearly doubled the hosts’ lead before the hour mark with a wide volley.

The 2011 runners-up paid for their profligacy late in the match when Fejzullahu drew a penalty, leaving Argentinean midfielder Pablo Batalla to convert from the spot and salvage an important away draw for the Chinese side.

2-3 Kashiwa Reysol
(2′ Yeom Ki-hun, 59′ Jong Tae-se / 12′ Barada, 30′ (PG) 55′ Leandro)

Elsewhere in South , Suwon Bluewings struggled in a 2-3 loss to Kashiwa Reysol, leaving them winless in three encounters with the J-Leaguers.

The hosts got off to a bright start early as Jong Tae-se assisted Yeom Ki-hun’s second-minute header. Their joy lasted just 10 minutes, however, as Akimi Barada converted Leandro’s assist to bring Reysol even.

The Brazilian was not satisfied with the assist, however, scoring a 30th-minute penalty and a second goal in the 55th minute to put Reysol up 3-1.

Shortly before the hour mark, it was Yeom assisting Jong Tae-se’s header in a mirror image of their first collaborative effort. It still wasn’t enough for the Korean side, who will visit Kashiwa Stadium knowing that anything less than a two-goal victory will not be enough to advance to the quarter finals.

1-0 Al Hilal
(90+2′ Digao (OG))

A late own-goal could make the difference between advancement and an early exit for last year’s runners up as Persepolis beat Saudi titans al Hilal.

The hosts did well to shut their opponents down in the first 45 minutes, although Al Hilal were unlucky to see Salem Al Dawsari’s close-range attempt in the 28th minute be called offside.

The second half saw more action from both sides, though Al Hilal slowly took control after the hour mark and forced several big saves by Sousha Makani.

Things fell apart for the visitors in the 88th minute when midfielder Salman Al Faraj was shown a second yellow card for a professional foul, and the short-handed side gifted Persepolis a late goal when defender Digao blundered the ball into his own net.

Al Sadd 1-2
(37′ Khalid / 13′ Soria, 36′ Msakni)

Two early goals cost Al Sadd as they fell 1-2 to Qatari rivals Lekhwiya.

Uruguay-born Sebastian Soria opened scoring from close range in the 13th minute, taking advantage of Vladimir Weiss’s pass across the six-yard box.

The lead for Michael Laudrup’s side doubled on the 36th minute when Youssef Msakni concluded his solo run down the pitch with a shot past Saad Al Sheeb.

Home fans finally had something to cheer about a minute later when Hassan Khalid cut the deficit in half with a goal of his own, which began with Abdelkarim Hassan’s deep pass from the first third.

Hassan was unfortunate to see several of his own opportunities go unrewarded in the second half, and the substitute appearance of former AFC Player of the Year Khalfan Ibrahim was not enough to send Al Sadd home with a draw in the final 22 minutes.