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Kobe shock Yokohama to move into Asian Champions League quarters

TOKYO : Vissel Kobe overturned the form book to knock J1 League leaders Yokohama F Marinos out of the Asian Champions League at Saitama Stadium on Thursday as two-time winners Jeonbuk Motors also advanced to the competition's quarter-finals.

Kobe, in a fight against relegation in the domestic league, handed Kevin Muscat's side a shock 3-2 defeat to progress to Monday's quarter-finals while Jeonbuk needed a goal late in extra time to secure a 2-1 win over Daegu FC.

Marinos had been expected to dominate against a team that languishes 24 points behind them in their domestic league but Kobe took an early lead when Nanasei Iino lifted his seventh minute shot over goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka.

Marinos struck back immediately through Takuma Nishimura's diving header only for Daiju Sasaki to restore Kobe's lead from the penalty spot in the 31st minute.

Defender Yuki Saneto was judged to have handled the ball inside the area and referee Alireza Faghani pointed to the spot after a VAR consultation, leaving Sasaki to stroke his penalty home.

Marinos pushed for another equaliser, with Nishimura denied by Daiya Maekawa, who went on to pull off key second-half saves from Katsuya Nagato and Ryuta Koike to further frustrate Yokohama.

With 10 minutes remaining, Yutaro Oda effectively killed off the game, smashing Hotaru Yamaguchi's cut-back into the net from 10 yards as Kobe sliced through the Marinos defence.

Anderson Lopes came off the bench to score in the 89th minute and give Marinos hope, but even the presence of Takaoka in the penalty area at an injury time corner could not provide Yokohama with the goal they needed to keep the game alive.

Jeonbuk booked their place in Saturday's quarter-final draw when Kim Jin-kyu's last-gasp winner saw off fellow South Koreans Daegu FC at Komaba Stadium.

Song Min-kyu had given Jeonbuk the lead a minute into the second half when he volleyed Han Kyo-won's cross from the right past Oh Seung-hoon, who allowed the ball to slip through his grasp.

But Brazilian striker Zeca punished poor Jeonbuk defending to drive his shot through goalkeeper Lee Bum-soo's leg to level the scores 10 minutes later.

The game went into extra time and seemed set for a shootout despite Jeonbuk twice hitting the woodwork before Kim swept the ball home from inside the six yard box a minute into time added on to the end of extra time.

Two spots in the east Asian half of the quarter-final draw remain to be filled, with Hong Kong's Kitchee taking on BG Pathum United from Thailand and Urawa Red Diamonds facing Johor Darul Ta'zim from Malaysia on Friday.

Source: Reuters

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