Nagoya Grampus sit in second place in Group G after playing out a scoreless draw with China’s Tianjin Teda on 18 April in the AFC Champions League, while Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma took full advantage of the result, thumping Australia’s Central Coast Mariners 5-0 in South Korea to top the table on goal difference.
Grampus will be counting the cost of Keiji Tamada’s missed penalty in the 59th minute, a baffling decision granted by referee Liu Kwok Man after he judged Yuki Maki had been pulled down by Nie Tao just outside the six-yard box, with no Nagoya players appealing for an infringement. Justice of sorts was served when Tamada fired high and wide of the left upright, a dreadful spot kick befitting the dreadful refereeing.
Clear goalscoring chances were otherwise few and far between, the first half witnessing a Yoshizumi Ozawa free-kick from 25 yards which beat the Tianjin Tigers wall but was two weak to trouble Yang Qipeng in the Teda goal, and a Veliche Shumulikoski volley which looped over a number of defenders before striking the top of the crossbar and bouncing away for a goal kick. Teda did have an excellent opportunity to take the lead in the second period, but He Hang mishit a shot from 12 yards after an excellent pull back from Milan Susak, and the ball dribbled into the grateful arms of Seigo Narazaki.
Grampus now face their most difficult tie in Group G, travelling to Seongnam to face the group leaders on 1 May. A victory over their rivals will guarantee their progress to the Round of 16 should Central Coast Mariners fail to defeat Tianjin Teda, but it is most likely that the Nagoya outfit will need to secure a berth in the knockout format when the host the Australian side at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium on 15 May.
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