Hong Kong (AFP) – Dejan Damjanovic’s first-half goal on Tuesday secured a place for Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League with a 1-0 win against Kashima Antlers, who have already qualified.
The win meant the South Korean side qualified for the knockout phase as winners of Group H ahead of their Japanese hosts, with Sydney FC missing out after they could only draw 0-0 with bottom side Shanghai Shenhua.
Suwon silenced the home fans in the 30th minute when prolific marksman Damjanovic stuck out his right boot at a Waguininho free-kick and deflected it past a stranded ‘keeper Kwoun Sun-tae into the Kashima goal.
Waguininho almost doubled Suwon’s advantage on the stroke of half-time when sent clear by Montenegrin international Damjanovic, but this time Kwoun thrust out a strong left hand to push the Brazilian’s low shot past the post.
Damjanovic had the ball in the net again in the second half from a 60th minute corner, only to hear the referee blow for a foul against another Suwon attacker in the box.
Sydney, who kicked off at the same time, needed to win at home to eliminate Chinese Super League side Shenhua and to hope that Kashima could beat Suwon.
But the A-League champions exited with a whimper after failing to break down an understrength Shenhua, who had made the long journey to the Southern Hemisphere without star strikers Nigerian Obafemi Martins and Colombian Fredy Guarin.
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