Urawa, Vissel win to advance to AFC Champions League quarter-finals

Urawa, Vissel win to advance to AFC Champions League quarter-finals

Urawa Reds and Vissel Kobe are into the final eight of the AFC Champions League after the two J.League sides won their Round of 16 ties.

Urawa had a dominant victory over Johor Darul Ta’zim, a tough Malaysian side that eliminated Kawasaki Frontale in the group stage. The Reds had no issue with JDT, though, cruising to a dominant 5-0 win that put their excellence on full display.

The Reds were terrific from the start and took a lead within eight minutes. Yusuke Matsuo was fouled by the JDT goalkeeper, earning a penalty that Alexander Scholz converted.

Just over 10 minutes later, Urawa had doubled their lead through a spectacular free kick from David Moberg. His shot kissed the inside of the post before settling in the back of the net for a great goal and before the referee blew for halftime, Moberg had scored another on a cross from Yoshio Koizumi.

Kasper Junker came off the bench in the second half and scored a pair of his own, putting a bow on a statement victory for Urawa that put them into the quarter-finals.

For Vissel to earn their spot in the final eight, they had to get past fellow J.League side Yokohama F·Marinos.

Things started well for the Ushi, with Nanasei Iino racing in behind the Marinos defense and chipping the goalkeeper for a seventh minute goal, but Takuma Nishimura answered quickly for the Tricolor.

A handball penalty earned Vissel a spot kick on the half-hour mark, which Daiju Sasaki finished, but the insurance tally didn’t come until the 80th minute. Reo Osaki played an incisive ball in for Hotaru Yamaguchi, who crossed for Yutaro Oda to bury for a beautiful team goal that put the Ushi up, 3-1.

It would be a crucial goal as a late strike from Anderson Lopes brought Marinos within touching distance, but it was not enough as Vissel prevailed, 3-2, to eliminate J1’s first place team and advance in the continental championship.

The East Region's final four next play on Monday, with Vissel Kobe drawing Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of South Korea and Urawa Reds set to face off against BG Pathum United of Thailand.