• Kyodo

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Gamba Osaka’s slim hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League ended Wednesday after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to South Korean side Chonbuk Motors.

Tokyo Verdy failed to break Japan’s jinx in Asia’s premier club competition after they were also knocked out after going down 1-0 to another South Korean outfit, Ulsan Horang-i in Group F.

At Expo Stadium, Cho Jin Soo beat Tsuneyasu Miyamoto to fire Chonbuk into the lead deep into first-half stoppage time and although Satoshi Yamaguchi leveled for Gamba with 16 minutes left, the J. League champion was unable to find a winner.

The result left Gamba on seven points with one game left in Group E, three behind Chonbuk, which hosts China’s Dalian Shide in its final match.

Dalian leads the table with 12 points from five games after a 1-0 victory over winless Da Nang of Vietnam.

Verdy, which was relegated from Japan’s top flight for the first time in the club’s history last season, needed to overturn a two-goal deficit to stand any chance of becoming the first Japanese team to advance past the ACL group stage.

But Ruy Ramos’ side’s hopes were dashed when South Korea international Lee Chun Soo fired home from the edge of the box shortly before halftime and the K-League champion held on despite the sending-off of You Kyoung Youl midway through the second half.

Verdy and Ulsan were the only two teams competing in Group F following the expulsion of Thailand Tobacco Monopoly and Arema Malang from Indonesia.

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