SENDAI – Tournament debutant Vegalta Sendai were eliminated from the Asian Champions League on Wednesday after a 2-1 defeat at home to China’s Jiangsu Sainty in their final game in Group E.
On a disappointing night for Japanese clubs, Urawa Reds, the 2007 ACL Champions, also fell at the first hurdle, despite wrapping up the group stage with a 1-0 win away to Thailand’s Muangthong United in Group F, Daisuke Nasu volleying the winner early in the second half.
Kashiwa Reysol, 3-0 winners at Australia’s Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday, are the only Japanese team to make the two-leg round of 16. Group H winners Kashiwa will face Group F runnerup Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea, which drew 0-0 away to Guangzhou Evergrande, later this month.
Sendai started the day in second spot and Naoki Sugai headed it in front, but Liu Jianye leveled and Hamdi Salihi hit the winner midway through the second half.
Both teams finished with 10 men as Sendai striker Wilson and Jiangsu’s Ren Hang were both sent off in the late stages. FC Seoul won Group E and Thailand’s Buriram United took second.
“It’s a hugely disappointing result. As a J. League representative we wanted to advance. The officials made the match difficult for us,” said Sendai manager Makoto Teguramori, whose team ended up at the bottom of the group.