Japan's Urawa into Champions League quarters
© AFP

J-League champions Urawa Red Diamonds drew 0-0 with Sydney FC on Wednesday to clinch a place in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

The Japanese team, unbeaten with two wins and four draws in six matches, finished just a point ahead of Sydney at the top of Group E.

"Sydney were tough opponents and it was really a difficult match. I don't care about a draw, I'm just happy that we got past the first round," said Urawa's German coach Holger Osieck.

Urawa needed only a draw to reach the last eight but had the better chances with the visitors looking second-best.

Former Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono went close on 17 minutes and midfielder Robson Ponte made Sydney goalkeeper Clint Bolton work hard just before half-time.

Brazilian striker Washington almost collected all three points for Urawa but shot narrowly wide in injury time.

"I'm sorry that we couldn't win," Ono said.

Urawa join Kawasaki Frontale, Al Hilal, Al Wahda and title-holders Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea in the quarter-finals.

Urawa and Kawasaki are the first Japanese teams ever to reach the competition's last eight.

"Urawa are one of the strongest teams in Asia and I knew it would be a difficult game, but my players put up a good fight against them," said Sydney coach Branko Culina.

The knock-out round will get under way on 19 September after a break for the AFC Asian Cup.