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Mday 4 – ACL Group H Wrap

23 April 2009 No Comment

J-League side Kawasaki Frontale have confirmed their place in the knockout stages of the 2009 Asian Champions League with a 2-1 home victory over the Central Coast Mariners.

In second place, Pohang Steelers failed to impress this time round and could only manage a scoreless draw away against Tianjin Teda.

That result means Takashi Sekizuka’s men will finish within the top two of their group, after edging out the Central Coast Mariners in Japan.

Two weeks ago the Japanese side thumped the Mariners in Gosford 5-0. This time round, Central Coast was more organised and played to their strengths.

They actually looked more likely to win the game during an intriguing second half during which Kawasaki opened the scoring courtesy of a goalkeeping error just after half-time.

Danny Vukovic spilled the ball into the path of Juninho, the Brazilian finishing from close range, but Kawasaki failed to press home their advantage as they had done on their last ACL outing.

That allowed Australia international Matt Simon to equalize with a fine finish, sparking a period of concerted attacking pressure from the visitors.

However, it was Kawasaki who again came out on top courtesy of an 82nd minute header by defender Shuhei Terada.

Tianjin Teda meanwhile defied their underdogs tag, holding K-League side Pohang Steelers to a 0-0 draw in China.

Prior to the match, Tianjin manager Zuo Shusheng had admitted that Pohang were a “superior” side but called on his own team to show their battling qualities.

Through a gutsy performance, Tianjin managed to keep themselves in the race for second spot and a place in the knockout stages.

With two matches remaining, they are four points away from the Pohang Steelers and are on equal points with the Mariners, whom they will face in Australia before the stage’s end.

Pohang remain on six points, four behind group leaders Kawasaki.

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