The fifth round of the 2018 AFC Champions League group stage saw one of Japan’s four representatives clinch their place in the Round of 16, while two more were eliminated from contention.
In Tuesday night’s action, Kashima Antlers overcame an early two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at Shanghai Shenhua and guarantee a top-two finish in their group. Yuma Suzuki spurred the team’s comeback with his 58th-minute goal before assisting Leandro just five minutes later.
Cerezo Osaka also stayed alive as Eiichi Katayama and Yoichiro Kakitani scored in their 2-1 win over Korea’s Jeju United. In second place with eight points in Group G, Yoon Jong-hwan’s men trail leaders Guangzhou Evergrande by a single point.
Kashiwa Reysol were bounced from the competition on Wednesday after suffering a 2-0 loss to K League champions Jeonbuk Motors, with China’s Tianjin Quanjian the other team to advice from Group E after a narrow win over Kitchee.
A 1-1 draw at Group F leaders Shanghai SIPG was not enough to keep Kawasaki Frontale’s hopes alive as they ended the night trailing second place Ulsan Hyundai by six points.
The final group stage round will take place on April 17 and 18.