ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Adelaide United, Tokyo and Ulsan Hyundai booked places in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday while 2008 winner Gamba Osaka, Brisbane Roar and Beijing Guoan dropped out of contention.
Adelaide United was held to a scoreless draw at home by Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor but that was enough to guarantee the Australian club a spot in the knockout stages.
Bunyodkor will need to win its last game at home against Pohang Steelers to progress from Group E. The Korean club beat Gamba 2-0 to move up to second place.
In Group F, Tokyo beat Brisbane United 4-2 while Ulsan Hyundai won 3-2 at Beijing Guoan, eliminating the losers with a game to spare.
In Adelaide, a game where both teams were going to be reasonably satisfied with a draw made for mostly unadventurous football.
Though Bunyodkor showed more attacking intent in the second half and controlled the balance of play, it was Adelaide which had the best chances: Iain Ramsey had a shot cleared off the line and substitute Iain Fyfe headed straight at the goalkeeper then forced a diving save with a long-range volley.
"We have confirmed our spot now in the second round," United acting coach Luciano Trani said. "The objective was pretty much achieved tonight, so that is a good thing."
Pohang Steelers prevailed over Gamba in a match between former champions. Zoran Rendulic failed to convert a first-half penalty for Pohang, but the hosts still went to halftime ahead thanks to a goal by on-loan striker Kim Jin-yong.
Derek Asamoah, who spent many years in the lower tiers of English football, scored the second goal in the 77th minute to seal the victory.
Brisbane needed to beat Tokyo by at least a two-goal margin to stay alive in the competition, and began promisingly when Albanian striker Besart Berisha netted in the fourth minute of a game played in at-times heavy rain.
But Tokyo equalized straight from the ensuing kickoff through Hideto Takhashi, and went up 2-1 in the 20th thanks to a Kenta Mukuhara goal.
Thomas Broich equalized in the 33rd for Brisbane, which was playing its first game under Rado Vidosic following the departure of successful head coach Ang Postecoglou to Australian rival Melbourne Victory.
Kazuma Watanabe's penalty just before halftime put Tokyo back in front and when he scored his second in the 60th minute, Brisbane's campaign was effectively ended.
In Beijing, the hosts needed to beat Ulsan to stay alive but trailed 2-0 after just 20 minutes. Go Seul-ki put the Koreans ahead in the 17th and Kim Seung-yong doubled the lead in the 20th.
Zhang Xizhe raised Guoan's hopes of a comeback when he netted inside two minutes of the second half, but as they pushed for an equalizer, Brazilian Maranhao scored Ulsan's third in the 79th. Shao Jiayi's stoppage-time goal was only a small consolation.