The 2009 Asian champions became the second South Korean side to crash out of this season's ACL at the group stage as Anvar Gafurov's 48th-minute strike proved enoughUzbek champions Bunyodkor have progressed to the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League (ACL) for the fifth consecutive season after a 1-0 home victory over Pohang Steelers on Wednesday night.
The Korean side, who lifted the ACL in 2009, knew any result would be enough for them to reach the final 16, however Bunyodkor did enough in Tashkent to progress in second spot in Group E behind Adelaide United.
Veteran defender Anvar Gafurov netted the game's only goal three minutes into the second half, after a opening 45 where Bunyodkor twice hit the woodwork.
Victor Karpenko smacked a shot into the crossbar with a left-foot strike on 31 minutes, while shortly before the break Kamoliddin Murzoev's header hit the woodwork too.
However, Slovakian midfielder Jan Kozak whipped in a delightful cross for Gafurov to score what proved to be the winner on 48 minutes.
Pohang, who are a team in transition and have had their issues with goalscoring in the ACL, struggled to respond with a few counterattacks coming to nothing.
Steelers boss Hwang Sun-Hong threw on Ko Mu-Yeol with 23 minutes to play, but he couldn't help find the breakthrough despite coming close late on.
The victory means Bunyodkor will travel to another recent Asian champion, 2010 winners Seongnam Ilhwa in South Korea on May 29.
The Steelers' early exit makes it two Korean club to crash out of the ACL at the group stage, following on from 2011 finalists Jeonbuk Motors' elimination on Tuesday evening. K-League pair Seongnam and Ulsan Hyundai both topped their groups elsewhere.