September 15 – Defending 2020 Asian Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai squeezed into the quarter-finals of the 2021 competition last night thanks to goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo who secured them a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win over Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale.
Over three nights of frantic Champions League action across the region, Ulsan Hyundai were not the only ones to progress through the one-leg knockout round on penalties.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors saw off the challenge of BG Pathum United with a 4-2 penalty shootout win after the match ended 1-1 after extra-time.
They will be joined by a third South Korean team, Pohang Steelers, who defeated Japan’s Cerezo Osaka 1-0.
Nagoya Grampus were the only Japanese team to make through to the AFC’s East Zone quarter finals. They beat Daegu FC to prevent a South Korean clean sweep with a hat-trick from Jakub Swierczok helping them come from behind twice to walk away with a 4-2 win.
West Zone tense
The knockout rounds in the West Zone were similarly tight. Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SFC, the 2019 champions, were the first team from the West to book their quarter-final ticket with a 2-0 win over Iran’s Esteghlal on Monday.
Saudi had a second team through to the quarter finals with Pro League side Al Nassr narrowly overcoming Iran’s Tractor FC 1-0 on Tuesday.
Iran eventually had a winner with Tehran giant and last year’s beaten finalist Persepolis FC overcoming debutants FC Istiklol of Tajikistan 1-0 in front of a partisan crowd.
In the all-UAE tie, Al Wahda FSCC went through with a nailbiting 5-4 win on penalties against fellow UAE Pro League side Sharjah. The tie had ended 1-1 after extra time.
The eight team draw for the quarter finals will be held on Friday at AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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