- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

SYDNEY (AP) - Big-spending defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande failed to advance from the group stage of the Asian Champions League despite a win this week, with Sydney FC and Urawa Red Diamonds reaching the knock out stage from Group H.

Sydney FC was assured of a spot in the Round of 16 for the first time when Guangzhou beat Pohang Steelers on Tuesday, and 2007 champion Urawa joined them with a 0-0 draw in Australia on Wednesday night.

Urawa will return to the second stage for the first time since reaching for the 2008 semifinals.

South Korean champion Jeonbuk Motors moved to the top of Group E with a 3-0 win over FC Tokyo at Tokyo Stadium.

Kim Bo-kyung scored the opening goal in the 35th minute and then set up Lee Jae-sung to head home the second in the 61st. Substitute Go Moo-yul sealed the victory in stoppage time.

Brazilian playmaker Alex Teixeira played his part in all three goals as Jiangsu Suning edged closer to the knockout stage from Group E with a 3-0 win over Vietnamese champion Binh Duong.

Xu Xi scored the first goal in the sixth minute and Jo doubled the lead within the next two minutes. Substitute Ji Xiang added the third with 10 minutes to go.

FC Seoul ensured the top spot in Group F with a 2-1 victory over already eliminated Thai club Buriram United at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Dejan Damjanovic and Park Yong-woo scored off headers in the first half.

In another Group F match, Diego Tardelli scored the winner for Chinese club Shandong Luneng to book a place in the round of 16 with a 1-0 win over Japanese team Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

In the western division, Lokomotiv Tashkent remained one point clear of Al Nasr at the top of Group A on nine points after a 1-1 draw between the top two clubs, and two-time continental champion Al-Ittihad trounced 2007 finalist Sepahan of Iran 4-0 on neutral soil to move to six points and stay in contention for the knockout stage. Sepahan cannot advance. The return legs of both matches will be played May 4.

“We needed this victory and we were expecting to win, but the big result was a nice surprise,” Al-Ittihad coach Victor Piturca said. “The Al-Ittihad players showed today that they are at a high level and they’re getting back to form - we should take advantage of this win in order to have a big push for the last match.”

Zob Ahan of Iran clinched top spot in Group B with a 3-0 win over Saudi club Al-Nassr, moving to 11 points. Lekhwiya of Qatar will also progress after a 2-0 win at Bunyodkor to move into second spot with eight points, sending the two-time semifinalists from Tashkent out of contention.


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