Saitama: Fabio Cannavaro vowed to work to arrest his Guangzhou Evergrande side’s current slump in form after Urawa Red Diamonds handed the Chinese Super League leaders a 2-0 defeat in the first leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final on Wednesday to leave their continental title hopes hanging by a thread.
The defeat extended Guangzhou’s winless run to six straight games in all competitions and means Cannavaro’s side will need to mount a major comeback in the second leg at Tianhe Stadium on October 23 if they are to progress to the final and keep alive their hopes of a record third AFC Champions League crown.
Semi-final - 1st Leg: Urawa Red Diamonds 2-0 Guangzhou Evergrande
Saitama: Spectacular strikes from Fabricio and Takahiro Sekine earned Urawa Red Diamonds a 2-0 first leg advantage over Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Wednesday as the Japanese side edged towards a third appearance in the final.
Fabricio put Urawa ahead 19 minutes into the game and Sekine doubled his side’s lead in the 75th minute to give Tsuyoshi Otsuki’s team a significant advantage ahead of the second leg at Guangzhou’s Tianhe Stadium on October 23.
Both clubs are looking to secure a record third AFC Champions League title and will face the winners of the meeting between Qatar’s Al Sadd and Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia, with the club from Riyadh holding a 4-1 lead in that tie following their victory on Tuesday.
Doha: Head coach Răzvan Lucescu believes Al Hilal SFC thoroughly deserved their resounding 4-1 win over Qatar’s Al Sadd SC in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.
Al Hilal found themselves behind after 15 minutes when Bafétimbi Gomis scored an own goal, but the French forward subsequently netted a goal in each half to help his side record a comfortable victory against an Al Sadd outfit who had Abdulkarim Hassan sent off in the first half.
Doha: Al Sadd coach Xavi is refusing to give up hope of qualifying to the 2019 AFC Champions League final despite his side’s heavy 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Al Hilal in the first leg of the semi-final on Tuesday.
The Qatari champions surrendered an early lead to concede twice in each half, suffering their first home defeat of the campaign and leaving them in need of a four-goal winning margin if they are to better last year’s semi-final exit.
The night started brightly for the hosts as they dominated the early proceedings and struck first 14 minutes into the game, but a defensive mistake allowed Al Hilal a way back into the match and Al Sadd capitulated after being reduced to 10 men, allowing their visitors to reign.
Saudi Arabia vs Qatar - A history of knockout stage encounters
Kuala Lumpur: Qatar’s Al Sadd are set to face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final next week, having overcome another Saudi opponent - Al Nassr – in the previous round and this will be the latest in a long series of Saudi-Qatari clashes in the competition’s knockout stages.
Although clubs from Saudi Arabia and Qatar have appeared in every single edition of the AFC Champions League since its inception in 2002-03, they managed to avoid facing-off in the knockout stages until 2009, but in the decade since, they have been pitted together on 10 occasions. The-AFC.com looks back at how each of these encounters panned out.
Kuala Lumpur: Ahead of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finals, we reflect on five classic encounters from previous editions of the Continental competition.
Last minute winners, goal gluts and East-meet-West clashes, since the AFC Champions League's revamp in 2002-03, there have been plenty of thrills and spills when the tournament has reached the final four phase.
The-AFC.com looks back on some of these ties to remember and relive.