With four games on Wednesday, the AFC Champions League matchday five has come to an end. Let's take stock of what transpired on the continent:
MUANGTHONG UNITED 3-0 BRISBANE ROAR [Xisco 37' Songkrasin 83' Dangda 89']
Thai outfit Muangthong United have also confirmed their passage to the knockout stages from Group E after a clinical 3-0 win over A-League outfit Brisbane Roar on Wednesday.
Muangthong were clearly the better side throughout the first half but had to wait till the 37th minute to take the lead. Spanish striker Xisco headed in Tristan Do’s cross from the right to make the superiority count. Muangthong then sat back in the second half in the hope of protecting the lead. With seven minutes of normal time left, Chanathip Songkrasin came up with a ingenuous run to double the advantage. He turned smartly to beat one defender before dribbling past another and easily rounded off the keeper and scored. Six minutes later, Teerasil Dangda sealed the victory by bundling home Peerapat Notchaiya’s shot-cum-cross at the far post.
The victory moved Muangthong to 11 points from five games while Kashima Antlers have nine points with a game to go. Only thing required to be determined is who wins the group.
ULSAN HYUNDAI 0-4 KASHIMA ANTLERS [Kanazaki 52', 67' Pedro Jr 54' Silva 90']
Kashima Antlers also ensured a top-two finish in Group E and confirmed progression to the next stage of the competition with a 4-0 dismantling of Ulsan Hyundai away in South Korea on Wednesday.
After a barren first-half which did not produce any goals, Kashima Antlers came out all guns blazing in the second. Mu Kanazaki broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute when he pounced on a weak parry from the Ulsan goalkeeper and turned the ball in. Two minutes later, Pedro Junior capitlaised on a slip from an Ulsan defender and arrowed a finish into the corner. In the 67th minute, Kanazaki grabbed his second and effectively put the tie to bed when the goalkeeper miskicked a clearance under his pressure and it fell right to him. Kanazaki made no mistake from close range, once again.
Leo Silva put the cherry on top of the win by smashing home a long-ranger in the 90th minute. Kashima Antlers have nine points from five games and could still take the group winners' spot.
URAWA RED DIAMONDS 6-1 WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS [Sekine 14' Ljubijankic 18' Lee 43' Silva 71', 79' Koroki 90+4' - Kusukami 66']
Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds sealed their place in the AFC Champions League knockout stages with an emphatic 6-1 win at home over A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday.
The Japanese side were all over the Wanderers right from the outset and it did not take long for the first goal to arrive. Takahiro Sekine curled the ball past Vedran Janjetovic, after receiving Muto's pass, in the 14th-minute before Zlatan Ljubijankic stabbed home Yoshiaki Komai's through-ball three minutes later to make it 2-0. Urawa added another goal before half-time when Komai was sent clear on goal and the midfielder squared the ball for Tadanari Lee to tap it in past a hapless Wanderers' defence.
Six minutes past the hour mark, the Australian side got their hopes up after Jumpei Kusukami powered into the box and saw a chip bounce in off the crossbar. But it proved to a false dawn as Urawa hit back in brutal fashion. Rafael Silva scored two goals within eight minutes to make the scoreline read 5-1 and star striker Shinzo Koroki finished off a clever backheel pass from Silva as the Western Sydney Wanderers were torn apart ruthlessly.
The result meant Urawa are tied atop Group F with 12 points with Shanghai SIPG while Western Sydney Wanderers have crashed out.
SHANGHAI SIPG 4-2 FC SEOUL [Hulk 25' Wei 30' Lei 43' Oscar 74' - Maurinho 10' Chu-Young 70']
Chinese side Shanghai SIPG have joined Urawa Red Diamonds in qualifying from Group F by defeating FC Seoul 4-2 on Wednesday at home.
It was FC Seoul, facing elimination, who started well and surged into a surprise lead in the 10th minute when he slid in at the far post to turn in a low cross across the box. However, SHanghai turned the scoreline around with two goals in five minutes. First, Brazilian attacker Hulk unleashed a typical rocket from 25 yards to equalise in the 25th minute. Five minutes later, Zhang Wei only had to get a boot to Hulk's low cross across the goal to make it 2-1 for the home team. Wu Lei then struck with a header two minute before the break to make it 3-1 as Andre Villas-Boas' side threatened to run away with the game.
The Koreans were given a glimmer of hope when Park Chu-Young turned in Yun Il-Lok's square pass on a breakaway in the 70th minute. However, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar snuffed out that hope with Shanghai's fourth goal, four minutes later. Oscar inadvertently collected Elkeson's pass in his stride, burst forward into the box and slotted it away as Shanghai pulled level atop the Group with Urawa Red Diamonds. All that is left on matchday six is to determine who wins the group.