Soccer-Asian champions Ulsan through to last 16 as Kawasaki advance

·2-min read

By Michael Church

(Reuters) - Ulsan Hyundai confirmed their place in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League on Thursday with a 3-0 win over Viettel of Vietnam while J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale also booked a spot in the knockout stage.

Ulsan lead Group F by three points from Thailand's BG Pathum United with one game remaining and, with 15 points, the South Korean side are certain to either win the group or claim one of the best runners-up berths in the next phase.

Second-half goals from Valeri Qazaishivili, Lukas Hinterseer and Oh Se-hun earned the win for Hong Myung-bo's team in Bangkok while a solitary goal from Sarach Yooyen secured BG Pathum United a 1-0 win over Kaya-Iloilo of the Philippines.

Only the group winners in the east Asian half of the competition are certain to advance to the lsat-16, where they will be joined by the three runners-up with the best records.

Kawasaki's Leandro Damiao scored a hat-trick as they beat Daegu FC 3-1 to confirm their status as Group I winners with one round of matches remaining in Tashkent.

The Brazilian saw his 34th minute header cancelled out by Edgar Silva's scuffed effort two minutes before the break.

But a pair of emphatic finishes in the 64th and 87th minutes from the former Brazil striker gave Kawasaki a win that takes Toru Oniki's side into the next round.

In the other Group I game, United City FC of the Philippines got their first-ever win in the Asian Champions League when they came back from two goals down to beat Beijing Guoan 3-2.

Mark Hartmann scored two second-half goals - including an 80th minute winner - after Jiang Wenhao and Leng Jixuan had put Beijing two goals up inside five minutes.

Japanese duo Nagoya Grampus and Cerezo Osaka have already confirmed their places in the last 16 along with twice champions Jeonbuk Motors from South Korea.

Matches in the eastern half of the competition are being played in biosecure hubs in Thailand and Uzbekistan after group matches in west Asia were completed in April.

The Round of 16 is scheduled to be held from Sept. 14 to 16 with the quarter-finals and semi-finals due to be played on a centralised basis in October.

The final will be held in an as yet undecided venue on Nov. 23.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ken Ferris)

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