September 19 – Suwon Samsung Bluewings held their nerve to beat fellow South Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on penalties and progress through to the last four of the AFC Champions League following an enthralling quarter-final victory on Wednesday.
Having won last month’s first leg 3-0, hosts Suwon were clear favourites to advance, but goals from Adriano, Choi Bo-Kyung and Kim Shin-wook sensationally drew Jeonbuk level on aggregate at the Suwon Olympic Stadium.
Brazilian import Adriano then missed a 92nd minute penalty to send the game into extra-time and a penalty shootout which saw Suwon goalkeeper Shin Hwa-yong (pictured) save efforts from Kom Shin-wook and Lee Dong-gook to seal his side’s first semi-final appearance since 2011.
Suwon will now play Kashima Antlers after the Japanese outfit brushed competition debutants Tianjin Quanjian aside 5-0 on aggregate thanks to Tuesday’s 3-0 success away from home.
Livewire forward Serginho, Hiroki Abe and substitute Shoma Doi were all on target for Kashima as they comfortably beat their Chinese opponents to guarantee themselves a first-ever appearance in the competition’s semi-finals.
In West Asia, Al Sadd and Persepolis will meet in the last four after they both emerged victorious from difficult quarter-final ties.
Al Sadd – title winners in 2011 – went through 5-3 on aggregate after Akram Afif’s first half opener and a late Baghdad Bounedjah penalty helped earn the Qataris a 2-2 draw with Esteghlal from Iran in Doha.
Persepolis are set to join their regional rivals in the next phase following a 3-1 defeat of Al Duhail which handed the Iranians a slender 3-2 aggregate success.
Karim Boudiaf opened the scoring for Al Duhail, before Seyed Jalal Hosseini’s 57th minute strike, Sultan Al Brake’s own goal and a Godwin Mensha effort 12 minutes from time sent Persepolis through in front of over 71,000 spectators at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.
2018 AFC Champions League Semi-finals
Al Sadd v Persepolis (October 3 and October 24)
Kashima Antlers v Suwon Samsung Bluewings (October 4 and October 24)
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