Group J: Cerezo Osaka defeat Guangzhou FC to close in on AFC Champions League knockout stage
Buriram: Cerezo Osaka rung the changes but still came up with a 5-0 win over Guangzhou FC at the Buriram Stadium on Tuesday as the J.League side remained on course to qualify for the knockout stage of the 2021 AFC Champions League as Group J winners.
Taishi Matsumoto and Mutuski Kato both scored braces while Tiago Pagnussat was also on target as Levir Culpi’s side secured their fourth win in five games to move on to 13 points and remain in pole position in the standings with one round of matches to play.
Only the group winners are sure of advancing to the Round of 16 and Cerezo, who have dropped just two points so far in their 1-1 draw with Port FC on Matchday 3, are on course to confirm their progress to the competition’s next phase.
Vote for your Best Goal of 2021 AFC Champions League Matchday Four (East)
Bangkok: There were goals galore on Matchday Four in the 2021 AFC Champions League (East) with a series of stunning strikes coming from the games played out in the host cities of Pathum Thani, Tashkent, Buriram and Bangkok.
The-AFC.com has picked five of the best for you to choose your favourite, so cast a vote at the foot of the article to let us know!
Group J: Kitchee SC come from behind to salvage AFC Champions League point against Port FC
Buriram: Matt Orr earned Kitchee SC a 1-1 draw with Port FC at Buriram Stadium on Tuesday to keep the Hong Kong Premier League champions in contention for a place in the knockout rounds of the 2021 AFC Champions League.
Orr’s 18th minute header cancelled out Pakorn Parmpak’s free-kick from five minutes earlier to claim a point for Kitchee and keep them within three points of Group J leaders Cerezo Osaka.
The pair meet on Friday in the final round of matches with Kitchee knowing a win by two goals or more will see them advance to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history at the expense of Levir Culpi’s side.
Preview - Group G: Pohang Steelers vow to give it their all in crucial AFC Champions League showdown with Nagoya Grampus
Bangkok: Pohang Steelers’ Kim Gi-dong has vowed to field his strongest side when they lock horns with Japan’s Nagoya Grampus in Group G of the 2021 AFC Champions League at the Rajamangala Stadium on Wednesday.
Pohang come into Matchday Six on the back of a goalless draw against Thailand’s Ratchaburi FC and need the three points against a Nagoya side who are on a five-game winning streak.
The J1 League side have confirmed top spot Group G with 15 points to secure their place in the 2021 AFC Champions League Round-of-16 while Pohang - on 10 points - need victory to boost their hopes of advancing as one of the three best runners-up in the East zone.
Preview - Group G: Johor Darul Ta’zim, Ratchaburi determined to end AFC Champions League campaigns on high note
Bangkok: Johor Darul Ta’zim and Ratchaburi FC will be playing for pride when they clash in Group G of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Wednesday.
Although both have no chance to advance to the knockout stage, third place is still up for grabs and the showdown between the two ASEAN teams on Matchday Six is set to be a thrilling affair at the Rajamangala Stadium with Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta’zim ahead of Thailand's Ratchaburi.
Nagoya Grampus have already confirmed top spot while Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers will finish second irrespective of their result against the Japanese side on Wednesday.
Preview - Group H: Chiangrai United braced for AFC Champions League ‘final’ against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Tashkent: Thailand’s Chiangrai United must beat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to make their AFC Champions League knockout stage dream a possibility, according to coach Alongkorn Thong-Am.
The comments came ahead of Wednesday’s Matchday Five clash at Lokomotiv Stadium, which looms as the crucial fixture in shaping the outcome of Group H.
Chiangrai enter the match five points behind group leaders Jeonbuk and, while it is theoretically possible that the Thai side could finish second in the group even without a win against the K League champions, their tally of five points from four games means they will likely struggle to advance as one of the three best runners-up teams in the East Zone.
Preview - Group H: Gamba Osaka holding onto slender AFC Champions League Round of 16 hopes ahead of crucial Tampines Rovers clash
Tashkent: Gamba Osaka head coach Masanobu Matsunami remained defiant despite his side’s slender chances of progression to the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 ahead of their Matchday Four encounter with Tampines Rovers on Wednesday.
The 2008 Asian champions have not won in their past three games in the competition, drawing all three to find themselves slipping off the pace as they currently sit in second place with six points, four behind leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and another slip against their Singaporean opponents would end their already slim chances of finishing top of the group.