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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reysol knocked out of Asian Champions League


ULSAN, South Korea — J. League champions Kashiwa Reysol were knocked out in the round of 16 of the Asian Champions League, losing 3-2 away to Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday.

Nelsinho's side became the second Japanese casualty in as many days following Nagoya Grampus' exit a day earlier. FC Tokyo, Japan's last hope in the knockout phase of Asia's flagship club competition, kicked off against Guangzhou Evergrande later Wednesday in China.

Former J. League-based Lee Keun Ho netted late to win it for Ulsan, who also scored twice more in the second half through Kim Shin Wook and a Kashiwa own goal. Reigning J. League MVP Leandro Domingues and Junya Tanaka both struck after halftime for Reysol.

In a heated contest at Munsu Cup Stadium, Ulsan opened the scoring in the 54th minute through Kim after former Gamba Osaka and Jubilo Iwata striker Lee intercepted a pass out of the Kashiwa defense.

Lee crossed against the run of play for Kim, who scored a free header to make up for being cleared off the line just minutes earlier.

Kashiwa, though, kept their chins up and leveled eight minutes past the hour through Leandro, who was unmarked as he nodded in the equalizer from a throw-in.

Yet fate proved to be cruel for Reysol as Ulsan reestablished the lead through a Kashiwa own goal in the 71st minute, when defender Tatsuya Masushima poked past his own line from a Lee Ho cut-back.

Lee Keun Ho made it 3-1 two minutes to the end of normal time with a clinical left-footed strike off his chest to virtually put the game out of Reysol's reach. Kashiwa still kept at it, pulling one back in the 93rd minute through Tanaka, but could not come closer as their inaugural campaign in Asia came to an end.

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