Kawasaki reach Asian Champions League last 16 with 5th group-stage win

Kawasaki Frontale reached the Asian Champions League knockout stage by thrashing Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia 5-0 at home on Tuesday for their fifth straight win in Group I.

Akihiro Ienaga scored the eighth-minute opener and Kawasaki added four after the break at Todoroki Stadium as they made the last 16 for the first time in two seasons.

“We were aiming for it, so it’s great,” said the former Mallorca attacker. “We hope to keep playing as a team taking one game at a time.”

The opener was set up by center-back Takuma Ominami, who ran into the box following a one-two with right-back Miki Yamane and rolled a cross for Ienaga to slide home at the far post.

JDT posed a threat in the first half, coming close in the 13th minute when Oscar Arribas’ low volley inside the box was saved by a diving Jung Sung Ryong, and Bergson’s powerful 30-meter drive drew another fine save from the Kawasaki keeper in the 39th minute.

While allowing chances, Ienaga’s right-wing cross was headed against the bar by Leandro Damiao as Kawasaki ended the first half strongly. The home team needed five minutes to double the lead in the second half, with the pair combining successfully this time.

Ienaga’s first-time cross with his weaker right foot was volleyed hard into the ground by Damiao, with a high bounce taking the ball beyond a diving JDT keeper Syihan Hazmi before it hit both the left and right post to find the net.

Fellow Brazilian Marcinho made it 3-0 on the hour mark as the winger met right-back Yamane’s cross with a diving header, and Yu Kobayashi added the hosts’ fourth in the 69th minute by burying a jumping volley after his initial header off a cross was saved.

Yamane curled into the corner from the edge of the box to put the icing on the cake with two minutes to go after a good lay-off from Taisei Miyashiro.

In Group G, Yokohama F Marinos lost 2-1 away to Incheon United as they remained on nine points, now level with their South Korean rivals and a point behind China’s Shandong Taishan heading into the final group-stage round.

Hong Si Hoo scored the 11th-minute opener and Hernandes doubled the lead in the 67th minute for Incheon. Kaina Yoshio’s free-kick rattled the bar in the 38th minute for Marinos, who finally got their goal through Elber in the 83rd minute but suffered a damaging defeat.

© KYODO