Champions Urawa advance to Asian Champions League group phase

TOKYO - Holders Urawa Red Diamonds booked their berth in the group stages of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday as Maciej Skorza’s side defeated Hong Kong outfit Lee Man 3-0, but China’s Shanghai Port were knocked out by BG Pathum United of Thailand. 

Yoshio Koizumi gave Urawa the per­fect start at Saitama Stadium with a second minute strike and Shinzo Ko­roki doubled the lead when he headed in Hiroki Sakai’s cross from the right four minutes later. Urawa, who were involved in the playoff rounds after a lowly finish in last year’s J.League standings, were rarely troubled by a limited Lee Man and Takahiro Sekine completed the win when he scored from close range deep into injury time. Reds, who have won the title three times, will now feature in Thursday’s group phase draw in Kuala Lumpur alongside BG Pathum United, Chinese Super League side Zhe­jiang FC and Incheon United of South Korea. BG Pathum Unit­ed advanced after a hat-trick by Igor Sergeyev saw the Thai side hand 2018 Chinese champions Shanghai Port a Igor Sergeyev 3-2 defeat. 

Sergeyev gave the Thais a two-goal lead with strikes in the 12th and 26th minutes before MirahmetjanMuzep­per pulled one back just after the half hour mark for Port. The Uzbekistan international struck again in the 61st minute and, while Markus Pink netted with four minutes remaining to en­sure a nervous finish for the visitors, BG Pathum United held on to advance. 

Incheon United progressed as goals from Cheon Seong-hoon, Hernandes and Gerso earned a 3-1 extra-time win over Vietnam’s Haiphong while Zhejiang defeated Port FC from Thai­land 1-0 thanks to Franko Andrijase­vic’s 51st minute goal.

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