GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA – Group H winners Kashiwa Reysol wrapped up the first round of the Asian Champions League with an unbeaten record after defeating Central Coast Mariners 3-0 away on Tuesday.
Second-half goals from Masato Kudo, Cleo and Leandro Domingues sent Kashiwa to their fourth win from six games with a goal difference of 10. Despite defeat, newly crowned A-League champions Central Coast will join Reysol in the round of 16 beginning May 14.
“It wasn’t an easy game for us by any means,” said Kudo, whose side were hammered 4-0 at home by Omiya Ardija in the J. League on Friday. “Hopefully we can continue to have success in the next round.”
Nelsinho’s men will face the runners-up from Group F, which includes Urawa Reds who are away at Thai side Muangthong United on Wednesday.
In order to qualify, 2007 champions Reds must win and count on leaders Guangzhou Evergrande to beat second-place Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in South Korea.
Also on Tuesday at Hiroshima, J. League champions Sanfrecce drew 0-0 to Beijing Guoan to finish their miserable campaign without a single win.
Hajime Moriyasu’s side, who had already been eliminated as the last-place team in Group G, managed just three points from the six games, scoring twice. Tuesday’s draw was Hiroshima’s only point at home.
The result at Edion Stadium, coupled with Pohang Steelers’ 1-1 home draw to Bunyodkor, means Vegalta Sendai will face Bunyodkor in the next round should they qualify.
Sendai, currently in second ahead of Buriram United on goal difference, host Jiangsu Sainty on Wednesday for the remaining ticket from Group E. FC Seoul are already through as group winners.