Thai qualifiers Buriram United held off Uzbek giants Bunyodkor to reach the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday as FC Seoul beat nine-man Beijing Guoan 3-1.
Buriram weathered waves of attack in Tashkent for a 0-0 draw and 2-1 aggregate win over two legs, extending the unfancied club's fairytale run which started with their qualifying victory over Brisbane Roar in February.
The engrossing but low-quality Round of 16 duel contrasted with an incident-packed second leg in Seoul which witnessed a penalty miss, three goals and three red cards in the last half-hour.
Seoul got off to a disastrous start when a defensive mix-up released Beijing's Freddie Kanoute in the box. The former West Ham, Spurs and Sevilla striker coolly finished to put the visitors 1-0 up after eight minutes.
After the break, Seoul's Serbian forward Dejan Damjanovic and Mauricio Molina both went close as Seoul pressed - and they got their break with a penalty on the hour-mark, after the Colombian was brought down in the box by Zhang Xinxin.
Damjanovic's spot-kick cannoned off the left post. But Seoul equalised just a minute later when Beijing 'keeper Yang Zhi fumbled a Yun Il-Lok cross into the path of Brazilian defender Adilson, who bundled it into an empty net.
Seoul needed two goals to win it, owing to Beijing's away goal, but they only had to wait nine minutes for their second when Yun hammered home a loose ball in the box, after Beijing failed to clear a glancing header from Damjanovic.
And with 11 minutes remaining Seoul were given a helping hand by Kanoute, who earned his second yellow card and an early bath for firing the ball into the net after the whistle had blown for offside.
Seoul also went down to 10 men when Adilson was sent off for a challenge on Lang Zheng, before Beijing's penalty-conceder Zhang saw red for a second bookable offence in the dying seconds.
And with huge gaps appearing in Beijing's defence, and their goalkeeper out of position, midfielder Koh Myong-Jin had time to steady himself and pick his spot for Seoul's third and final goal in the fourth minute of added time.
Thai-up for Bunyodkor
Later in Tashkent, Uzbek cup-holders Bunyodkor were the aggressors for most of the first half but they failed to penetrate a resolute Thai defence, with a penalty shout for handball perhaps their best chance of the opening period.
As the clock ticked past one hour, Oleksandr Pyshur and Lutfulla Turaev impeded each other when they both rose to meet a hanging cross, and Buriram spurned a one-on-one chance at the other end.
Genuine chances were hard to come by and Bunyodkor's Kamoliddin Murzoev let another opportunity escape him when his acrobatic volley sailed well clear of the Buriram goal.
Murzoev got closer with a powerful header, while Buriram's Adisak Kraisorn came close to breaking the deadlock with a scooped close-range shot which was scrambled away by Bunyodkor goalkeeper Murotjon Zukhurov.
During a testy finish, home captain Hayrulla Karimov cynically body-checked Buriram playmaker Carmelo Gonzalez, who in turn rugby-tackled an opposing player. But the game finished goalless, to the delight of the Thai team.
Joy for Saudi duo
Al Shabab eased into the last eight as a 3-0 victory over Al Gharafa ensured a 5-1 aggregate triumph. Sebastian Tagliabue bagged a brace scoring in the 34th and 47th minutes before Nasser Al-Shamrani scored in the final moments.
Al Ahli are also through following their 2-0 home win over El Jaish. Bruno Cesar and Mustafa Al-Bassas netted in the first half to complete a 3-1 aggregate win.