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Group E: Gyeongnam FC (KOR) 2-0 Johor Darul Ta'zim (MAS)

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Changwon: Luc Castaignos’ second half goal and a late Takahiro Kunimoto strike earned Gyeongnam FC a 2-0 win over Johor Darul Ta’zim on Wednesday, but it was not enough to take the K League side into the knockout rounds of the 2019 AFC Champions League.

Gyeongnam finished the group phase of the Continental championship with eight points in third place in Group E, two adrift of Kashima Antlers after the Japanese side’s 2-1 win over Shandong Luneng ensured the holders take second place in the group and advance to the last 16.

Shandong top the final standings while JDT finished bottom as they proved unable to add to their four-point haul.

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Both sides needed to win at the Changwon Football Center to harbour any hope of advancing to the next round and the pressure on the teams led to a nervous opening 45 minutes.

Gyeongnam went closest to claiming the crucial first goal of the game, only for JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias to make a pair of fine saves. Having first blocked Lee Kwang-seon’s shot, he then reacted sharply to ensure Castaignos did not net the rebound.



JDT spent much of the game on the back foot, with Hariss Harun’s attempt from distance a rare excursion into shooting range for the Malaysian side, but for all their possession Gyeongnam offered little threat themselves.

Guilherme Negeube caused some concern eight minutes before the break when he went on a storming run that saw him find a way past a gaggle of JDT defenders before firing off an attempt from the edge of the area that went wide of Farizal’s goal.

At the other end Syafiq Ahmad was also off target from outside the area as a cagey opening period came to a conclusion.

The home side looked the more likely to take the lead as the second half unfolded, with Farizal again saving his team just after the hour mark when he spread himself well enough to deflect Castaignos’ attempt wide for a corner.

Gyeongnam, though, finally found a way through the JDT defence four minutes later when Ann Seong-nam’s free-kick from deep was headed down by Lee Kwang-seon and Castaignos slipped the ball between Farizal and the near post.

JDT threatened to pull level through both Syafiq Ahmad and Gonzalo Cabrera but, with the game deep into injury time, Kunimoto rolled the ball home from close range to give Gyeongnam all three points.

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