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.
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.
Matsunami laments Gamba Osaka’s AFC Champions League departure, Kim applauds Jeonbuk focus
Tashkent: Gamba Osaka head coach Masanobu Matsunami was left to rue an opportunity missed after his side crashed out of the 2021 AFC Champions League with a 2-1 defeat to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at Bunyodkor Stadium on Saturday.
Needing a win on the night to advance as one of the best three runners-up, the Japanese side fell behind almost instantly to Gustavo’s successful penalty but levelled just after time thanks to a thumping volley from Patric.
Patric’s strike was one of nine Gamba shots at goal in the second half and it came after the Brazilian forward himself had squandered earlier opportunities, all of which came back to haunt Matsunami’s side when Jeonbuk substitute Modou Barrow scored the match-winning goal in the 88th minute.
Chiangrai United’s Thong-am and Tampines Rovers’ Nawas target improvements for future AFC Champions League bids
Tashkent: Both head coaches were adamant their sides will come back stronger as Chiangrai United beat Tampines Rovers 3-0 on the final matchday of Group I of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Saturday.
An evenly matched first half saw the two sides go into the break level after Tampines Rovers goalkeeper Zulfairuz Rudy saved Bill’s penalty. Fitness favoured Chiangrai United as they produced three goals in the final 15 minutes to settle the tie.
With both sides having been eliminated prior to the game, the result meant the Thai side finished the group in third place with eight points; a three-point and one place improvement from their campaign last year, while Tampines Rovers bowed out in fourth place with no points on their debut in the competition.
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.