- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) - The Western Sydney Wanderers’ Asian Champions League title defense ended Tuesday despite a win 2-0 over Guangzhou Evergrande, with FC Seoul moving into the knockout stage with a late 3-2 win over Kashima Antlers.

The Wanderers entered the last match in Group H needing to beat 2013 champion Guangzhou, which had already secured a spot in the round of 16, and relying on a draw at Kashima.

The Western Sydney team ensured its part of the equation with Mark Bridges scoring from close range in the 33rd minute in saturated conditions at Guangzhou and Tomi Juric sealing it with a solo effort late in stoppage time.

FC Seoul left it late to break the deadlock with Kashima, which opened the scoring in the eighth minute via Shuhei Akasaki. In a see-sawing match, both teams held a lead and both teams equalized before Mauricio Molina sealed the points a minute into injury time for the K-League team.

Guangzhou topped the group with 10 points, one clear of FC Seoul and two ahead of the Wanderers, who beat both east Asian rivals in the knockout stages last year en route to the title. Kashima finished with seven points.

In Group G, Beijing Guoan and Suwon Bluewings progressed following a 1-1 draw that left them level 11 points each.

Urawa Red Diamonds had a 2-1 win in Brisbane, Australia, ending any chance the Roar had of advancing.

“Both teams played wonderful football, with great passing,” Urawa’s Serbian coach Mihailo Petrovic said. “We could have had two or three more goals in the first half. Overall, we thought we deserved the win.”

Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, last year’s losing finalists, advanced to the round of 16 with a 2-1 win over Qatar side Al Sadd in Group C, while Al-Ahli, also of Saudi Arabia, played to a scoreless draw with Nasaf Qarshi of Uzbekistan and qualified from Group D.

Al Hilal finished with 13 points, three ahead of Al Sadd, while Al-Ahli had 12 points in Group D, four clear of the UAE’s Al Ahli and Nasaf Qarshi.

Al Hilal sealed the match in Riyadh when Mohammed Kasola steered Khalid Kaabi’s shot into his own net with 21 minutes remaining. Al Hilal dominated throughout as the side coached by former Greece international and English Premier League player George Donis avenged its earlier group loss against the Qataris.

On Wednesday, the qualifying teams from groups A, B, E and F will be determined.


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