SEOUL, April 17 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean football club Suwon Samsung Bluewings reached the knockout stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League on Tuesday after winning their final group stage match.
Suwon, two-time continental champions, beat Kashima Antlers 1-0 at Kashima Soccer Stadium in Kashima, Japan, to wrap up their Group H campaign.
With the latest result, Suwon finish atop Group H with 10 points from three wins, one draw and two losses. Kashima finished second with nine points, followed by Sydney FC with six and Shanghai Shenhua with five.
Only the top two teams from each group qualify for the knockout rounds of the AFC Champions League (ACL). Suwon will next meet fellow K League 1 club Ulsan Hyundai, which finished in second place in Group F in the round of 16.
Against Kashima, Suwon broke the scoreless deadlock with a goal in the 31st minute. Suwon’s Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic redirected Waguininho’s low free kick to give a 1-0 lead to the visitors.
In the 45th, Suwon’s foreign attacking duo almost produced the second goal of the night when Damjanovic’s through ball found Waguininho running into the box, but the Brazilian’s left-footed strike was tipped away by Kashima’s South Korean goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae.
Damjanovic again found the net from close range in the 60th, but his goal was called off after he ruled to have fouled an opponent.
Kashima pushed for an equalizer, but Yuma Suzuki’s header in the 62nd, and Ryota Nakagi’s right-footed attempt in the 65th both failed to get past Suwon goalkeeper Shin Hwa-yong.
Kashima kept up the pressure until the 93rd minute, but the South Koreans maintained their lead and sealed their passage to the round of 16.