Kashima, Nagoya knocked out of ACL

Kashima Antlers and Nagoya Grampus both lost in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday and failed to advance to the quarterfinals.
Kashima fell 3-0 at the hands of FC Seoul, while Nagoya Grampus lost 2-0 at Suwon Bluewings. Both matches were played in Korea.
Cerezo Osaka are the only Japanese team to advance to the quarterfinals, following their 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka on Tuesday.

In a rematch of a 2009 second-round match when Seoul edged Oswaldo Oliveira’s side on penalties, Kashima were kept under pressure by Seoul, with Dejan Damjanovic, Bang Seungwhan and 2008 Asian Player of the Year Server Djeparov combining well up front.
Damjanovic came close in the 28th minute and 10 minutes later helped put Seoul ahead.
The Montenegro forward dribbled up the middle before passing the ball to Seungwhan on the right. With the defense concentrating on Damjanovic, the Korean forward had the freedom to slot home with his right foot.
Kashima, who failed to make an attempt on goal in the first half, brought on Brazilian midfielder Fellype Gabriel for ineffective striker Carlao at halftime.
But Seoul continued to attack after the break and made it 2-0 10 minutes into the half. Djeparov attacked on the left flank and crossed the ball in for Damjanovic, who made no mistake with a neat volley from 10 meters.
Kashima’s first big chance came four minutes later when Chikashi Masuda cut in from the left to fire in an angled shot, but his attempt was denied by Kim Yong Dae.
The seven-time J. League champions had the ball in the net in the 73rd minute when Daiki Iwamasa struck from close range, but it was called offside.
Kashima boss Oswaldo Oliveira sent on midfielder Yasushi Endo and defender Daigo Nishi in an attempt to get back into the tie.
But three minutes into stoppage time, Kashima allowed Seoul midfielder Koh Myong Jin to slot the ball home and make the score 3-0.
It was the fourth year in a row that Kashima were knocked out in the Round of 16.
“Our opponents were stronger than us,” said Oliveira. “There were no positives in today’s game and I want to forget about it as soon as possible.
“But we’ve done what we could despite our difficulties following the earthquake, so I think we can be proud of our achievements this year.”

In Suwon, Nagoya fell behind in the 23rd minute through Korea forward Yeom Ki Hun.
Suwon sat on their lead as Nagoya – with striker Josh Kennedy back after injury – attempted to rally. But the Australian international was marked closely by the Bluewings.
In the 57th minute, the J. League champions allowed Suwon to score again through Lee Sang Ho.
Nagoya manager Dragan Stojkovic, hampered by injuries to his squad, brought on some younger players from the bench, but Grampus were unable to respond.
“I’d like to congratulate Suwon,” said Stojkovic through an interpreter. ”It was a hard game for us. Suwon were better at finishing and they deserved to win.”
Stojkovic said his team had been unlucky with injuries and noted how tough the ACL can be: “You’re always happy to take part in the ACL, but it is a difficult tournament to prepare for because of its hard schedule. You have to travel to the Middle East and Australia and that can hurt your players.”
In other matches, Jeonbuk Motors of Korea, Foolad Mobarekeh Sepahan of Iran, Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia, Al Sadd of Qatar and Zabahan of Iran reached the quarterfinals, which are scheduled for September 14 and 27/28. The draw for the quarterfinals will be held on June 7 in Kuala Lumpur.
The semifinals will be held on October 19 and 26 and the final on November 4 or 5.