Group J: Draw seals Cerezo Osaka top spot, Kitchee SC's AFC Champions League hopes in the balance
Buriram: Kitchee face a nervous wait to see if they will advance to the knockout rounds of the 2021 AFC Champions League after Alex Chu Chi-kwong’s side claimed a 0-0 against Cerezo Osaka as the J-League side confirmed themselves as Group J winners at Buriram Stadium on Friday.
The hard-earned draw moves the Hong Kong champions on to 11 points from their six games and the outcome of the remaining matches in Groups F, H and I will determine if Kitchee take one of the three runners-up berths in the next round.
Cerezo finish with 14 points from their six games in Group J and coach Levir Culpi will have expected more from his team after a lively performance in the first half saw the Japanese side utterly dominant.
Cerezo Osaka's Culpi sets sights on AFC Champions League success, Chu's Kitchee SC hold heads up high
Buriram: Levir Culpi left Buriram Stadium celebrating guiding Cerezo Osaka into the Round of 16 of the AFC Champions League on Friday but vowing to work on his side’s finishing as he sets his sights on claiming the continental crown.
Cerezo’s 0-0 draw with Kitchee in their final Group J match ensured the J-League side finished on top of the standings and progress to the knockout rounds of the competition for the third time in the club’s history and for the first time since 2014.
Port FC, Guangzhou FC determined to build on AFC Champions League experience
Buriram: Port FC coach Sarawut Treephan will look to take the positives from the club’s first-ever appearance in the group stage of the AFC Champions League and put them to good effect when the Thai League kicks off at the end of July.
Port finished in third place in Group J with eight points from their six matches and closed out their campaign with a 5-1 defeat of Guangzhou FC, although Sarawut was unhappy that his side allowed the China PR club to score their first goal in this year’s competition.
Preview - Group F: Viettel FC, Kaya FC-Iloilo determined to make classy AFC Champions League exits
Bangkok: Kaya FC-Iloilo will go all out when they take on Viettel FC in Group F of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Sunday with both sides aiming to end their debut campaigns positively.
Both have already been eliminated from Round of 16 contention with Viettel the better placed with three points while Kaya of the Philippines head into the match having suffered five defeats, including a 5-0 loss to Sunday's Vietnamese opponents in the corresponding fixture.
Preview - Group I: Kawasaki Frontale chase perfect AFC Champions League group stage record against youthful Beijing FC
Tashkent: Kawasaki Frontale head coach Toru Oniki brushed aside suggestions of a lack of motivation, with the side already assured of progression as Group I winners ahead of their final game against Beijing FC on Sunday.
The reigning J1 League champions won each of their past five games and one more victory could make them the first side to collect all 18 points in the AFC Champions League group stage since Qatar’s Al Duhail SC in 2018, and the first in East zone since their compatriots Kashima Antlers all the way back in 2010.
Defending champions Ulsan Hyundai FC will also match the feat if they defeat Thailand's GH Pathum United in their final Group F match on Sunday.
Preview - Group I: Daegu FC urged to create AFC Champions League history against United City
Tashkent: Lee Byung-geun has urged his players to seize the moment and become the first Daegu FC side to qualify for the AFC Champions League knockout stage when they face United City FC on Sunday.
With nine points from five matches, Daegu now have a clear picture of what is required to advance to the last 16 for the first time, with a win to guarantee their progression, while a draw or defeat will bring their campaign to an abrupt end.