SAITAMA – Ryota Moriwaki picked the perfect time to open his 2017 account as the Urawa defender sent Reds into the Asian Champions League quarterfinals by scoring the decisive goal in a 3-0 extra-time victory over Jeju United in the second leg of their matchup on Wednesday.
Urawa went through 3-2 on aggregate thanks to Moriwaki, after Shinzo Koroki and Tadanari Lee netted during the first 90 minutes to send the tie into extra time.
After losing 2-0 in Jeju last week, Reds had to come up with at least the first two goals of the game to have any chance of joining Kawasaki Frontale in the quarterfinals.
Urawa poured it on from the start and moved in front in the 18th minute, when Koroki struck his third goal of the competition.
Yosuke Kashiwagi swung in a free kick from the inside left channel for Koroki, who glanced a header off the right-hand post and over Kim Ho-jun’s line to get the hosts going.
One minute past the hour, Lee nearly made it 2-0 with a shot from the edge of the “D,” smacking the post head-on. The former Southampton man came through two minutes later, however, with an angled strike from the left assisted by Koroki.
With the two teams level on aggregate, Jeju started coming out of their own half and four minutes into the second half, Shusaku Nishikawa was called into action to keep Kim Won-il out from a set piece.
The tide turned for Reds in the 81st minute, when Cho Yong-hyung was given his marching orders for a second yellow after laying into Koroki from behind.
But Urawa failed to capitalize on the manpower advantage in normal time — substitute Toshiyuki Takagi’s criminal miss highlighting Reds’ inaccuracy in front of goal — to invite the additional 30 minutes.
Just when it looked like the game was headed for penalties, Moriwaki netted Reds’ third of a long evening, tapping in a cross from Takagi by the far post in the 114th minute.
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