AFC Champions League 2017 Roundup: Kashima Antlers and Urawa Red Diamonds win Groups E & F

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We saw the third-fastest goal in ACL history in Shanghai's defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers as the Group stages came to a close..

The group stages of the AFC Champions League has come to an end in the East Zone as well after the conclusion of Wednesday's four games. Let's take a look at what happened. 


BRISBANE ROAR 2-3 ULSAN HYUNDAI [Maclaren 18', 37' - Young (OG) 9' Hee-Cheol 54' Yong-Jin 75']

South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai grabbed a consolation 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar in their final Group E encounter to ensure that they did not finish bottom in the group. 

The visitors were gifted the lead in the ninth minute when Brisbane goalkeeper Jamie Young fumbled Seo Myung-won’s shot over the line. However, Jamie MacLaren turned the scoreline around with a couple of goals before the break. First, he converted Brandon Borrello's pass into the box from the right wing before taking Borrello's neat through ball in his stride and finishing past the goalkeeper. 

ACL 2017: Al Ahli and Kawasaki Frontale through

However, Ulsan Hyundai hit back after the break. In the 54th minute, Nam Hee-cheol anticipated a mis-hit backpass from a Roar defender and diverted it home. In the 75th minute, Kim Yong-jin ensured Brisbane were consigned to another defeat when he knocked in Lee Yeong-Jae's accurate free-kick. 

KASHIMA ANTLERS 2-1 MUANGTHONG UNITED [Suzuki 18', 60' - Dangda 45']

Kashima Antlers vs Muangthong United

Japanese outfit Kashima Antlers pipped Muangthong United to the top spot in Group E with a 2-1 win over them on Wednesday, thanks to a brace from Yuma Suzuki. 

Since both teams had already assured themselves of progression, only the top spot in the group was at stake here and Kashima Antlers began well with the opening goal in the 19th minute. Suzuki latched onto a ball in behind the Muangthong defence by Yasushi Endo and coolly slotted the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. However, the Thai side equalised on the stroke of half-time through Teerasil Dangda who received the ball near the edge of the area, nutmegged a defender on the turn and found the top corner with a peach of a strike. 

But Kashima would strike again, this time for good, in the 60th minute through Suzuki. He headed home an Endo cross to seal all three points and book a Round of 16 clash against Guangzhou Evergrande. Muangthong United will take on Kawasaki Frontale. 

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WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 3-2 SHANGHAI SIPG [Kusukami 3' Lustica 6' Sotirio 89' - Wu Lei 1' Elkeson  23'] 

Andre-Villas Boas; Shanghai SIPG manager

Wu Lei scored the third fastest goal in AFC Champions League history but it was not enough to save already-qualified Shanghai SIPG from falling to a 3-2 defeat against Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday. 

In a frantic start to the game, Shanghai took the lead when Wu Lei embarked on a run in the very first minute down the right before nutmegging a defender and lashing a finish to the far corner from the right side of the penalty box, with the clock reading 21 seconds. However, two minutes later, Jumpei Kusukami ran onto Terry Antonis' through ball and slipped a finish home to equalise the scoreline. Three minutes later, Wanderers led as Steven Lustica blasted a finish into the roof of the net after collecting Kusukami's pass inside the area. However, Shanghai equalised in the 23rd minute through an Elkeson penalty. 

Shanghai, who could've won the group with a point were denied that luxury when Jaushua Sotirio popped up with a dramatic winner in the 89th minute to ensure Western Sydney Wanderers ended their campaign on a high. Shanghai ended up in second place and will take on fellow Chinese Super League side Jiangsu FC in the Round of 16.


FC Seoul vs Urawa Red Diamonds

FC Seoul also ended their AFC Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday. 

Though Urawa were assured of progression from the game, they did start the game well with Zlatan Ljubijankic wasting an early chance. But FC Seoul slowly grew into the game and took charge of the first half. In the 38th minute, their persistence would be rewarded as Lee Seok-hyun was sent clear by a through ball from Maurinho. The latter then went on to square the ball for Yoon Seung-won who tucked it into an open net for what turned out to be the winner. 

Despite the defeat, Urawa Red Diamonds qualified as Group F winners, thanks to a superior head-to-head record over Shanghai SIPG, and will take on South Korea's Jeju United.