AFC Champions League: Yokohama F. Marinos seal round of 16 spot
AFC Champions League: Yokohama F. Marinos seal round of 16 spot

AFC Champions League: Yokohama F. Marinos seal round of 16 spot. They will conclude their group stage campaign against Sydney FC.

Yokohama F. Marinos sealed their first ever qualification for the AFC Champions League knockout stage, eliminating Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors with a 4-1 win at the Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday.

A thunderbolt from Thai full-back Theerathon Bunmathan put Yokohama ahead before strikes from Marcos Junior and Teruhito Nakagawa, plus a Song Bum-keun own goal headlined a commanding second half display from Ange Postecoglou’s side.

Gustavo scored from the penalty spot for Jeonbuk, who will miss out on the business end of the tournament for only the second time in 12 appearances in Asia’s premier club competition, while Yokohama will have the chance to win the group when they meet Sydney FC on Friday.

More than nine months after dismantling the K League champions in Jeonju, and needing only a point to advance, Yokohama set about resuming their hold over Jeonbuk in a frenetic opening period.

Marcos Junior and Erik both sent efforts at goal over the bar, and there were several other nervous early moments for José Morais’ side as Yokohama found regular joy on both flanks.

It was a wide player, Theerathon, who supplied the opening goal, catching Jeonbuk off guard from a quickly taken free-kick before dribbling to the edge of the 18-yard box and hammering the ball into the net, with Song Bum-keun rooted to the spot as the ball flew in at the near post.

The onus was now on Jeonbuk, who needed a win to keep their slim Round of 16 hopes, but it was the Japanese side who retained the initiative, with Modou Barrow’s off-target shot late in the first half one of the few efforts by a player wearing green in the first half.

Yokohama confirmed their control six minutes after the interval with a terrific second goal. Marcos Junior had the final touch, calmly beating Song from 10 yards after being supplied by Teruhito Nakagawa’s no-look pass, but Jeonbuk found a reply of their own just two minutes later when Gustavo converted a penalty kick.

The Brazilian eased home his second goal of the tournament after Thiago Martins handled Barrow’s cross, with Yokohama goalkeeper Obi unable to repeat his penalty heroics against Shanghai SIPG’s Oscar six days earlier.

But Yokohama quickly restored their two-goal buffer, and if there was an award for assist of the tournament it would surely go to Erik for his beach soccer-inspired overhead kick to Nakagawa, who bravely prodded the ball home to make it 3-1 in the 72nd minute.

Postecoglou’s charges put the result beyond any doubt in the 82nd minute, when Onaiwu – introduced as a substitute just seven minutes earlier – sent a volley towards goal, with Song’s day to forget continuing as he inadvertently headed the ball into his own net.

Yokohama will conclude their group stage campaign against Sydney FC on Friday, while Jeonbuk will play for pride when they meet Shanghai SIPG.

Credit: AFC

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