Soccer

Gamba win to return to ACL quarterfinals

Kyodo

Gamba Osaka returned to the Asian Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in seven years with a controlling 3-2 second-leg win over FC Seoul on Wednesday.

Patric, Shu Kurata and substitute Lins were on target for the Japanese treble winners, who won both legs for a 6-3 aggregate. Gamba were last in the quarterfinals when they won the title in 2008.

Yun Ju Tae scored both goals for Seoul. The quarterfinal draw will be held June 18, with the matches fixed for Aug. 25-Sept. 16.

“We fought well at home and away,” Gamba skipper Yasuhito Endo said. “We’re pretty happy we reached the last eight.

“We did what we had to do. We were definitely at an advantage coming into this game, but we had a good first half and kept our cool in the second,” he said. “I think we were solid throughout the 90 minutes.”

Seoul, needing to score at least three goals and win by two, was staring at a deficit fairly early, falling behind in the 16th minute as Patric struck his third goal of the competition.

Takashi Usami, who scored two superb goals in last week’s victory, set the tables with a run into the area before crossing to Patric for a header from point-blank range.

Seoul had a grand opportunity to restore parity after 42 minutes after winning a penalty, but Mauricio Molina hooked his shot wide right.

Three minutes later, Gamba had Seoul sighing as they took their chance to pull away by two, Kurata hitting the back of the net after a concentration lapse in the defense.

Hiroyuki Abe raced down the right wing to send a low cross into the box, which Kim Dong-woo failed to properly clear. Kurata beat everyone to the loose ball and rifled home to make the climb even steeper for Seoul.

On the other side of halftime, Yun scored his first of the night off a defender in the 58th minute, but Lins lowered the dagger after 86 minutes with a jumping header from a Hiroki Fujiharu cross.

Yun capped his brace in the second minute of injury time against the run of play, yet it hardly served as consolations for Choi Yong-soo’s visitors.