Cerezo make ACL last 16 as Kitchee face nervous wait

Doha (AFP) –


Cerezo Osaka became the third Japanese side to make the last 16 of the Asian Champions League after they clinched top spot in Group J on Friday with a goalless draw with Kitchee FC of Hong Kong.

With 14 points from six matches, Cerezo join Nagoya Grampus and Kawasaki Frontale who made the cut earlier along with South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai.

Holders Ulsan Hyundai, who have a maximum 15 points from five matches, are also through for all practical purposes as even an unlikely heavy defeat to Thailand's BG Pathum United in their last Group F match on Sunday should see them qualify for the next round as one of the three best second-placed teams.

Hong Kong champions Kitchee face a nervous wait to find out if they go though after they finished on 11 points with three wins and two draws.

Kitchee were lucky to collect even one point on Friday, as Cerezo failed to take any of their numerous chances, especially in the first half.

Cerezo's Koji Toriumi, Yoshito Okubo and Hiroshi Kiyotake missed early opportunities at the Chang Arena in Buriram.

Then Riki Harakawa's curling free-kick from 25 yards hit goalkeeper Paulo Cesar's left post.

Kitchee were slightly better after the break and could have even clinched a shock win, but Cleiton and Matt Orr's efforts went wide.