x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Title-holders Gamba knocked out by two late goals

The reigning champions Gamba Osaka were knocked out of the Asian Champions League yesterday while two South Korean clubs progressed to the quarter-finals.

The reigning champions Gamba Osaka were knocked out of the Asian Champions League yesterday while two South Korean clubs progressed to the quarter-finals. Gamba were beaten 3-2 by Japanese rivals Kawasaki Frontale, who scored two late goals for a memorable comeback victory. South Korea's Pohang Steelers crushed Australia's Newcastle Jets 6-0 and FC Seoul prevailed in a penalty shoot-out over Japan's Kashima Antlers. Nagoya Grampus also progressed to the last eight with a 2-1 win over South Korea's Suwon Bluewings.

Kawasaki Frontale triumphed over Gamba thanks to a late winner by substitute Masaru Kurotsu, who scored with a left-foot drive from 15 yards with just five minutes remaining. Gamba's Brazilian striker Leandro scored a brace of first-half goals either side of Kengo Nakamura's goal for Frontale, putting the defending champions 2-1 ahead. That lead lasted until the 76th minute when Frontale's own Brazilian forward Renatinho equalised, setting the stage for Kurotsu's winner.

Former champions, Suwon Bluewings, were also eliminated yesterday. Yoshizumi Ogawa gave Nagoya Grampus a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute and Japan international Keiji Tamada doubled the advantage in the 66th minute. Brazilian Edu pulled one back for Suwon but the visitors could not come up with an equaliser. In Kashima, Park Yong-ho scored the winner in a dramatic penalty shoot-out as FC Seoul knocked out Kashima Antlers. After Kashima defender Atsuto Uchida fired high over the net with his penalty, Park beat goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata to give the South Koreans a 5-4 win on penalties after extra time ended with the teams at 2-2.

In the shoot-out, both teams missed their opening spot kicks, and Kashima their second, giving Seoul the advantage until Brazilian Adilson missed for the visitors, leaving the teams level at 2-2. Both teams scored with their fifth and sixth kicks, then Uchida missed and Park fired home. In Pohang, the Steelers dominated Newcastle, with Choi Hyo-jin scoring a hat-trick. * AP