• Kyodo


Urawa Reds will face Group F winner FC Seoul in the round of 16 of the Asian Champions League after drawing 1-1 against the Pohang Steelers on Tuesday.

In their final Group H game, Urawa traded penalties with Pohang — Zlatan Ljubijankic for Reds, Lazar Veselinovic for Steelers — and ended up second behind Sydney FC, which was beaten 1-0 away to defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

Reds will face Seoul in the home-and-away last 16 on May 18 and 25. The first leg is at Saitama Stadium.

Pohang, last in the group and already eliminated, had only pride to play for, but Urawa had every incentive, to determine its opponent in the second round.

Winning the group would have meant avoiding K-League leader Seoul in the last 16, and receiving the advantage of playing the second leg at home against Shandong Luneng.

But Steelers was more than up for the contest, not giving Reds an inch before a strong holiday turnout of 32,409.

Urawa needed almost the entire opening half to take its first stab, a Ljubijankic volley in the 40th minute that was just kept out by goalkeeper Kim Jin-young.

A minute later, Tsukasa Umesaki should have done much better with a completely free shot from the edge of the box, but sent his effort high over the bar and into the stands.

Naoki Ishihara, making his first start of the season, forced a reflex save from Kim after 50 minutes and four minutes afterward, it was finally Pohang’s turn through Park Sun-yong, who was foiled in a one-on-one by ‘keeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

The momentum swung toward the visitors one minute past the hour, when Reds’ substitute Ryota Moriwaki brought down Park Jun-hui in his area to gift Pohang a penalty.

Veselinovic converted with authority to give Steelers the lead, which they were unable to hold on to as substitute Kim Jun-su coughed up a spot kick with three minutes remaining.

Ljubijankic struck off the hand of Kim Jin-young to hand Reds a point, not enough to bump Mihailo Petrovic’s men to first place.

In Group F, Gamba Osaka ended their campaign without a single win, going down 2-1 at Melbourne Victory. Gamba finished bottom of the table with just two points.

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