Kashima holds on to reach quarters


HONG KONG — Kashima Antlers advanced to the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League for the first time in a decade as Go Oiwa's side knocked Chinese Super League leader Shanghai SIPG out of the continental championship, despite losing 2-1 The J-League side progressed with a 4-3 aggregate win and join Suwon Bluewings in next week's draw for the last eight after the two-time Asian champions handed fellow South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai a 3-0 defeat on Wednesday to complete a 3-1 aggregate win.

The pair advance along with China's Tianjin Quanjian and two-time winner Jeonbuk Motors, who booked their places Tuesday, in the eastern half of the quarterfinal draw, which will be made in Kuala Lumpur next Wednesday.

Iran's Esteghlal has also advanced after it saw off compatriots Zob Ahan to join fellow Tehran-based club Persepolis in the quarterfinals while Al-Duhail ensured there are two Qatari clubs in the draw after its 8-3 aggregate win over Al-Ain saw it advance alongside Al-Sadd.

Kashima went into Wednesday evening's meeting with Shanghai holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg but a goal by Brazilian star Hulk reduced the deficit for SIPG just seven minutes into the game.

Shoma Doi scored from close range to secure a crucial away goal for Antlers three minutes before the interval and although Hulk claimed a second from the penalty spot with nine minutes remaining, Kashima did enough to progress after failing in the Round of 16 on four of their last five attempts.

"I'm very sorry that we lost today's game, but we have finally made it through to the next round and I'm very satisfied with that," said Oiwa.

"We played very well and if we had managed to score a second goal we would have been in control of the game. It's a pity we didn't, but I'm still satisfied and that we've finally managed to go through to the next round."

Suwon, meanwhile, bounced back from a 1-0 first leg loss against Ulsan with Kim Gun-hee's double ensuring Seo Jung-won's side claimed a 3-0 win that keeps them on track for a first continental title since winning the second of back-to-back Asian Club Championship wins in 2002.

Al-Duhail backed up its first leg 4-2 thrashing of former champion Al-Ain with another comprehensive win over the 2016 finalist as the club from Doha hammered the United Arab Emirates' champions 4-1 to complete an 8-3 aggregate victory.

Youssef Al-Arabi scored twice for Djamel Belmadi's side as it saw off the 2003 champion, with Ismaeel Mohamed also on the scoresheet for an Al-Duhail side who took the lead thanks to an own goal from Mohamed Ahmed.

And Tehran giant Esteghlal secured its place in the last eight for the first time since 2013 as a hat trick from Mame Baba Thiam overturned a 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Zobahan in an all-Iranian affair to progress with a 3-2 aggregate win. — Reuters