K-League sides Suwon Bluewings and Jeonbuk Motors swept into the AFC Champions League knockout phase along with Japan's Kashima Antlers with respective victories over Sydney FC and Shandong Luneng.
Suwon defeated Sydney FC 3-1 at home to go top of Group H with nine points, the same number as Kashima, with just one round of matches remaining in the group stage.
Suwon took control of an open and entertaining match with goals from Ha Tae-Goon and Mato Neretljak. Bruno Cazarine pulled one back for Sydney, but a late strike from Yeom Ki-Hun further ensured a deserved win for Suwon.
The Koreans took the lead in the first half when a free-kick was curled behind the Sydney backline for Ha to nod home from the edge of the six-yard box and five minutes after the restart, Suwon doubled their advantage from a Neretljak free-kick.
Sydney immediately pulled a goal back, but Suwon settled the contest with ten minutes remaining.
"We have one game left at Shanghai and if we want to finish first we need to win and we will do all we can to get that result. We will fight 100 per cent for victory," said Suwon coach Yoon Sung-Hyo.
Yoon was delighted with the victory over Sydney that sends the team into the knockout stage for the third consecutive year. "We had to win to be sure of a place in the last 16 and the performance and result was good, it was a good victory," Yoon said.
Motors edge Shandong Luneng
Jeonbuk, winners of the competition in 2006, beat China's Shandong Luneng 2-1 through a brace from Lee Dong-Gook. Cerezo Osaka kept their Champions League hopes alive with an emphatic 4-0 win away at Arema Indonesia, moving to second in Group G behind Jeonbuk with nine points.
In West Asia, Al Sadd's coach Jorge Fossati was not pleased at the manner in which his side allowed Esteghlal to steal into a 2-0 lead, but his mood was brightened in the manner the Qatari side fought back and gained the point that guarantees them a place in the knockout stages.
"Now, we can go on and create history," said Fossati. "We will not be happy if we don't qualify as the top team in the group."