Steelers gift Reds top spot

Pohang Steelers missed the chance to top Group H in the AFC Champions League after a bizarre penalty saw it lose 4-3 to Sanfrecce Hiroshima and gift Adelaide United top spot in Group H even though it lost at home to Shandong Luneng.

Pohang Steelers missed the chance to top Group H in the AFC Champions League after a bizarre penalty saw it lose 4-3 to Sanfrecce Hiroshima and gift Adelaide United top spot in Group H even though it lost at home to Shandong Luneng.

The South Koreans had fought back from 3-1 down only for Kim Tae-su to concede a spot-kick with nine minutes to go when he brought down Koji Nakajima in the box and was sent off after being shown a second yellow card.

Instead of shooting at goal, Hisato Sato decided to square the ball to Tomoaki Makino and the defender fired home the winner.

Sanfrecce had taken the lead inside the opening minute at Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium when Kohei Shimizu finished from close range following Tadanari Lee’s pass.

Kim Jae-sung levelled two minutes later but Lee headed home Shimizu’s corner to restore Sanfrecce’s advantage and Shinichiro Kuwada added a third just before the break.

Alexandro then saw a penalty saved by keeper Hirotsugu Nakabayashi after the Brazilian had been brought down in the box but Pohang fought back in the second period.

Kim Jae-sung halved the deficit two minutes after the restart before he set up Shin Hyung-min to equalise from outside the box in the 62nd minute.

However, Sato’s inventive penalty ensured Sanfrecce ultimately claimed the points.

The result meant Adelaide United secured a home tie in the last 16 even though it went down 1-0 to Shandong Luneng at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Li Wei scored the only goal of the game in the 55th minute, evading Robert Cornthwaite’s challenge and firing past Reds keeper Eugene Galekovic to clinch the Chinese side’s second win.

Two goals apiece from Jose Mota and Yeom Ki-hoon saw Suwon Bluewings come from a goal down to thrash Singapore Armed Forces 6-2 and finish top of Group G in the Asian Champions League.

Minnows Singapore went in front with just five minutes gone at Suwon World Cup Stadium when Federico Martinez collected a long ball, turned Li Weifeng and curled an exquisite finish into the top corner.

However, Mota equalised six minutes later when he chested down Lee Dong-sik’s cross, beat two defenders and scored with a low finish.

Lee Hyun-jin gave Suwon the lead when his low strike found the back of the net through a crowded penalty area and Kwak Hee-ju headed home Kim Dae-ui’s set-piece at the near post.

Mota added a fourth in the 39th minute with a low finish to put the result beyond any doubt.

Suwon scored its fifth goal seconds after the restart as substitute Yeom – making his first appearance for his new club following an injury lay-off – pounced on a rebound after Yeo Sung-won’s header hit the post.

Ivan Lovric reduced the arrears when he headed home Taisuke Akiyoshi’s cross but Suwon had the final say when Yeom found the top corner from 20 yards on the stroke of full-time.

Gamba Osaka was denied top spot when substitute Song Tae-lim’s injury-time goal saw the Japanese side held to a 1-1 draw by Henan Jianye at Hang Hai Stadium.

Henan keeper Zheng Chen turned Hayato Sasaki’s 30-yard drive onto the bar before Gamba took the lead when Takashi Usami and Lucas played a one-two on the edge of the box before the former found the back of the net with a powerful finish.

Gamba seemed on course for all three points until Song’s late intervention when he was picked put by He Bin before chipping keeper Yosuke Fujigaya.

Flavio’s late strike ensured Al Shabab qualified for the second phase with a 2-1 win over 10-man Pakhtakor at King Fahd International Stadium.

Sherzodbek Karimov gave Pakhtakor the lead on the half hour when he pounced on a rebound after Stanislav Andreev’s shot was parried by keeper Hussain Shaian.

However, Aleksander Kletskov was sent off eight minutes later for protesting a yellow card for a tackle too vigorously.

Al Shabab drew level in the second half when Abdullah Shuhail was brought down in the box and Tarik El Taib calmly converted the spot kick.

Substitute Zaid Al Mowlad struck the post for Al Shabab but it grabbed the winner in the 88th minute when a neat one-two between Flavio and Waleed Al Gizani allowed the former to sweep a shot into the back of the net.

The result meant Al Shabab topped Group C but Pakhtakor also made it through by virtue of Sepahan’s surprising 2-0 defeat at already-eliminated Al Ain.

Jose Sand scored a goal in each half at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium in Abu Dhabi to send the Iranians packing.

The Argentinian striker put Al Ain ahead from the spot three minutes before the break and doubled both his and his side’s tally in the 71st minute when he converted a rebound after Abdul Aziz Fayez’s initial effort had been saved.

Mes Kerman benefited from Al Sadd’s late slip to qualify for the last 16 as it ended Al Hilal’s unbeaten record with a 3-1 win at Shahid Bahonar Stadium on a dramatic final day in Group D.

Edinho opened the scoring for Mes when keeper Abbas Mohammadi’s long kick found the Brazilian and he forged into the left-hand side of the box before burying a low shot into the far corner past Al Hilal custodian Abdulaziz Al Deayea.

Al Hilal evened up the contest six minutes into the second half when Mohammed Al Fraidi beat two Mes defenders too easily near the byline before poking the ball back for Mohammad Al Mahyani to blast in from close range.

However, substitute Paulo Zaltron gave Mes a crucial lead when he burst between two defenders and into the box before smashing the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Al Fraidi was then sent off with one minute to go as tempers flared before Al Deayea’s error handed Mes a third goal in injury time.

The keeper raced out of his goal to beat Mahchampdi Rajabzadeh to the ball but unfortunately was let down by his dribbling skills and gave the ball straight to Gholam Abbas Ashoubi.

He dribbled into the box and squared the ball to Rajabzadeh and the midfielder’s nifty backheel evaded an Al Hilal defender’s desperate slide.

However, Mes were forced to endure a nervous wait to discover its ACL fate as victory for Al Sadd over Al Ahli would see the Qataris and not the Iranians go through.

It started badly for Al Sadd as Brazilian striker Bare gave Al Ahli the lead with 13 minutes gone at Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamed Stadium in Doha when he slipped a finish past keeper Mohamed Saqr.

The home side rallied, though, and Ali Atif levelled two minutes later before Felipe Jorge dribbled into the box from a short corner and fed Talal Al Bloushi, who found the back of the net to put Al Sadd in front after 20 minutes.

That was the way it stayed until injury time when Ali Abbas took advantage of a goalmouth scramble to net a dramatic late equaliser that saw Al Sadd’s Champions League dream come to a heartbreaking conclusion.