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playoffs

AFC Predictions Part 2: Who Goes to the Round of 16

(Old School- from www.pes-patch.com)
In part one, I looked at the four groups in the East Asian Zone and how each team was doing in their group after four games.  Now, with two games left to play, I will try and predict who will go through to the round of 16.  From there, I will try and guess who will go on to the quarterfinals.

In making these predictions, I tended to be partial towards Korean teams since they have a good history in this competition.  That is why even though Jeonbuk are not performing well and have two tough fixtures, I think they will go through.  Unfortunately, I cannot see Suwon having enough luck to get out of their group since they cannot score goals and Pohang, after a good start, seem destined to not to qualify for the ACL next year.


(I believe they will have cause to celebrate like they did in the good old days- from www.hyundai-motorsfc.com)
Group E

FC Tokyo play Jeonbuk at home and this is a critical fixture for both clubs.  I think each side with be happy with a draw and take their chances in the next round, but especially FC Tokyo.  If they draw, they will have eight points and be tied, most likely with Jiangsu Sunning, who I think will wins by three or four goals at home against Binh Duong.  However, because FC Tokyo have had trouble scoring at home in the J1 League, I think Jeonbuk find a way to win on the road in Tokyo.  In the final fixtures, I think Jeonbuk and Jiangsu play out a draw as neither side can afford to lose while Binh Duong more than hold their own again at home by earning a credible draw against FC Tokyo.

Rank
Team
Points
1st
Jeonbuk Motors
10
2nd
Jiangsu Suning
9
3rd
FC Tokyo
8
4th
Binh Duong
5


(In the end, they will have more to cheer about- from news.xinhuanet.com)
Group F

FC Seoul wrap up the group on Wednesday against Buriram United with a win, enabling them to rest their starters against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the next round.  Shandong Luneng seem to have gotten some defensive stability recently and are playing better in their league than Sanfrecce Hiroshima.  A loss for either side, but especially Hiroshima, will be a disaster so I think each side will be happy with a draw.  Sanfrecce Hiroshima get a point on the road and live to play another day while Shandong Luneng are closer to qualifying and their final game is against Buriram United.  Sanfrecce Hiroshima, facing Seoul's second string win, but so do Shandong Luneng on the road in Thailand.

Rank
Team
Points
1st
FC Seoul
13
2nd
Shandong Luneng
11
3rd
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
10
4th
Buriram United
0

(Melbourne Victory might have been poor in the A-League, but they advanced to the round of 16 in the ACL- from youtube.com)
Group G

I feel as though Melbourne Victory have been recipients of good fortune and I do not think that good fortune will last, which means I think they will be spanked on the road by Shanghai SIPG   Gamba Osaka host Suwon Bluewings, who have been quite unlucky when it comes to scoring, and I think that misfortune will continue to occur, as neither side gets a victory.  In the last round of fixtures, Suwon finally wins a game, but it is too little too late and Melbourne Victory qualify for the round of 16 with win over Gamba Osaka.

Group G Final Standings
Rank
Team
Points
1st
Shanghai SIPG
12
2nd
Melbourne Victory
9
3rd
Suwon Bluewings
7
4th
Gamba Osaka
3

(Bye Bye Guangzhou Evergrande!  I found this under a search for Pohang 2016- courtesy of cyberspaceandtime.com)
Group H

Guangzhou Evergrande roll over Pohang Sydney FC, but unfortunately it is not enough for them to advance to the knockout round, causing Phil Scolari to lose his job.  Urawa Reds and Sydney both need point, and knowing a loss would be a disaster, are satisfied with a nil-nil draw.  Urawa beat Pohang in the next fixture to leap frog Sydney and win the group.  I really hope that Guangzhou Evergrande do not qualify because if they do, then they will most likely face FC Seoul and this team is one of the few in Asia that can keep up and even outscore Seoul.

Group H Final Standings
Rank
Team
Points
1st
Urawa Reds
11
2nd
Sydney FC
10
3rd
Guangzhou Evergrande
8
4th
Pohang Steelers
4

East Zone Round of 16 Match-up Predictions 

Based on Wikipedia, this should be the round of 16 matchups.  The winner of each fixture is in red.

(Exasperation? Confusion? Disappointment?  Who knows- from youtube.com)
Runner-up Group G (Melbourne Victory) vs. Winner Group E (Jeonbuk Motors)
  • In what appears to be an easy contest, Choi Kang-hee tinkers again and it comes back to bite him in the ass, allowing for Melbourne Victory to move on to the quarterfinals.  
(Ramires has enough quality as Jiangsu Suning overcome Shanghai SIPG- from www.chinatopix.com)
Runner-up Group E (Jiangsu Suning)  vs. Winner Group G (Shanghai SIPG)

  • Both teams have quality, but I think Jiangsu Suning's form is a bit better right now.  They are tops in the league and Shanghai are struggling to score goals.  This fixture will be tightly contested, probably end on penalties, but in the end I think Jiangsu Suning go through.  
(Seoul fans will continue to have a lot to cheer about if they do not have to play Guangzhou Evergrande- from youtube.com)

Runner-up Group H (Sydney FC) vs. Winner Group F (FC Seoul)
  • This really feels like Seoul's year and I am hoping they avoid a match up with Guangzhou Evergrande, who are one of the few teams that can hang with them offensively.  I think Seoul have more than enough to handle Sydney FC and move on to the quarter finals.  
(Urawa Reds home supporters will enjoy watching their team thrash Shandong Luneng- from i1os.com)
Runner-up Group F (Shandong Luneng) vs. Winner Group H (Urawa Reds)
  • Urawa Reds feel like Gamba Osaka last year.  They have a pretty good attack and I think they will prove to be too much for Shandong Luneng, who while doing better on defense, are still probably not the complete package yet.  
From there, the AFC has a quarterfinals drawing and who knows what will happen after.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment on how you think the results will play out. 

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