Analysis: JDT make club history with first ever ACL win
Johor Bahru: Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) enjoyed a night to remember on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over defending champions Kashima Antlers of Japan that secured three points for their first time in the AFC Champions League.
History was made at the Stadium Tan Sri Dato HJ Hassan Yunos on Matchday Five when JDT upset all the odds to register a maiden win in Asia's most prestigious club competition and doing it by downing no less than the AFC Champions League holders, Kashima.
Johor Bahru: Johor Darul Ta’zim coach Benjamin Mora used Liverpool’s shock win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League as inspiration as they sprung one of the biggest surprises in recent AFC Champions League history against defending champions Kashima Antlers on Wednesday.
Syafiq Ahmad’s solitary goal 69 minutes into the game sealed a remarkable 1-0 victory for the Malaysian Super League champions, who became the first team from the country to win a game in the group phase of the AFC Champions League.
That it came against the reigning Continental kings – and without suspended striker Diogo – made it all the more significant and Mora was delighted with a performance that keeps the club’s slim hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds alive.
Group E: Johor Darul Ta’zim (MAS) 1-0 Kashima Antlers (JPN)
Johor Bahru: Johor Darul Ta’zim pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent years in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday as the Malaysian Super League side defeated reigning champions Kashima Antlers thanks to a solitary goal from Syafiq Ahmad.
Syafiq’s 69th minute stunner earned JDT their first-ever win in the group phase of the competition and it means the reigning champions will have to wait until the final round of group games in two weeks’ time to find out if they will advance to the last 16.
A draw against already qualified Shandong Luneng on May 22 could be enough to take Go Oiwa’s side into the knockout rounds, but the loss against JDT was the second in a row for the Japanese club and the second time they have missed the chance to secure their place in the next phase.
Group E: Shandong Luneng FC (CHN) 2-1 Gyeongnam FC (KOR)
Jinan: Marouane Fellaini’s late header sealed a come-from-behind 2-1 win for Shandong Luneng over Gyeongnam FC on Wednesday that earned the Chinese Super League side a place in the knockout rounds of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
The former Manchester United midfielder headed home from close range three minutes from time to complete an impressive second half performance by Li Xiaopeng’s side, who trailed at the break thanks to Kim Seung-jun’s opener.
But a stunning Hao Junmin free-kick in the 64th minute pulled Shandong level before Fellaini claimed the goal that moves his team on to 11 points and a guaranteed top two finish in the standings.
Daegu: Kim Dae-won has described his feeling of delight upon seeing his fabulous goal put Daegu FC three up against Melbourne Victory on Wednesday as the team from Korea Republic recorded a resounding 4-0 victory to move second in Group F of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Having lost their past two games, both against Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Daegu had fallen from first to third in the standings and were in desperate need of a win at Forest Arena to reignite their hopes of reaching the Round of 16.
With the score at 2-0 and just 10 minutes to play against already-eliminated Melbourne, Kim received the ball just outside the right side of the penalty area, maneuvered into space and fired a stunning left-footed shot into the far top corner to secure all three points with arguably one of the goals of the tournament so far.
Victory was a triumph over adversity, says Fellaini
Jinan: Belgian star midfielder Marouane Fellaini was the hero on the night for Shandong Luneng with his late goal on Wednesday sealing the side's progression to the Round of 16 after a 2-1 win over Gyeongnam FC.
Ahead of Matchday Five, Italian striker Graziano Pelle had scored in every one of Shandong Luneng's 2019 AFC Champions League fixtures, and the loss of this year's second highest scorer in the competition would have been keenly felt ahead of the visit of their opponents from Korea Republic.
And, indeed, it proved a struggle from the outset with Shandong forced to opt for a different setup, with three midfielders behind a lone frontman as oppose to their usual 4-4-2 formation.
Analysis: Brazilians star as Group H goes to the wire
Kawasaki: Kawasaki Frontale and Shanghai SIPG played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Tuesday with the share of the spoils meaning Group H will be decided after the last round of fixtures in two weeks’ time.
One of the games of the tournament so far witnessed some excellent attacking play as honours ended even and the fate of the sides remained in the balance.