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Football: Japanese clubs win in Korea to edge closer to ACL quarters

Takashi Usami scored twice as Gamba Osaka beat FC Seoul 3-1 at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Photo: WSG.

Takashi Usami scored twice as Gamba Osaka beat FC Seoul 3-1 at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Photo: WSG.

May 21, 2015: Japanese duo Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol, Seongnam FC of South Korea, Iranian pair Persepolis and Naft Tehran, and Qatar’s Lekhwiya all claimed first-leg wins in the AFC Champions League Round of 16 to edge closer to a place in the quarter-finals.


The ties involving Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Beijing Guoan, and Emirati duo Al Ahli and Al Ain ended in draws.


With four of the first legs taking place in Korea, J.League champions Gamba claimed a comprehensive 3-1 win over FC Seoul at Seoul World Cup Stadium following two goals from the impressive Takashi Usami.


Gamba coach Kenta Hasegawa said: “This match is not yet over. There is still the second leg to play and we have to stay focused and finish the job that we have started.


“Seoul are a very tough team and we know that they will be the same in the second leg. We have to prepare and train well to try and win the next game. There is still a lot of football left.”


Also away from home, Kashiwa came back from a goal down to beat K-League Classic side Suwon Samsung 3-2 courtesy of Leandro’s brace. Akimi Barada was also on target for Kashiwa at Suwon World Cup Stadium, although goals from Yeom Ki-hun and Jong Tae-se gave Suwon hope.


Seongnam were the only Korean side to win their first leg at home after Kim Do-heon’s penalty in the sixth minute of stoppage time secured a 2-1 win over China’s Guangzhou Evergrande.


Fellow Chinese Super League side Beijing benefited from a late spot kick as Pablo Batalla netted with five minutes remaining to secure a 1-1 draw with Jeonbuk.


In the west

Persepolis, Naft and Lekhwiya will also take one-goal advantages into next week’s second legs. A late own goal from Brazilian defender Digao saw Persepolis edge out 2014 runners-up Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia 1-0 at a sold-out Azadi Stadium ahead of the return meeting at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.


Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic said: “I can’t explain how happy I am after this wonderful victory. We won a big game. We have had two big games in just four days. We had to recover after a tough league game against Esteghlal and fortunately we got a good result and took a big step towards the quarter-final.”


Lekhwiya emerged with a one-goal lead after defeating Al Sadd 2-1 in the all-Qatar Round of 16 clash, while Gholamreza Rezaei scored the only goal as Naft edged out Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli. Al Ahli and Al Ain played out a goalless draw in Dubai.


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Source: WSG (; Editing by SportAsia

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