Grant: Pohang Steelers have the belief to go all the way
Jeonju: An emotional Alex Grant hailed Pohang Steelers’ ‘amazing achievement’ after a penalty shootout win over arch-rivals and holders Ulsan Hyundai saw the Australian defender and his teammates into the 2021 AFC Champions League final.
Following a goalless first half, the defending champions took the lead on 52 minutes via Yun Il-lok’s close-range finish but after captain Won Du-jae’s 68th minute sending off Pohang took full advantage of their numerical superiority with Grant rising highest to head home the equaliser a minute before normal time.
Grant’s fellow defender Dave Bulthuis then missed the opening spot-kick for Ulsan with the remainder of the penalties coolly converted by both sides leaving captain Kang Sang-woo to net the winner for Pohang.
Jeonju: Pohang Steelers head coach Kim Gi-dong was full of praise for his players after they came from a goal down to eventually eliminate holders Ulsan Hyundai on penalties in the 2021 AFC Champions League semi-final after a dramatic encounter at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Wednesday.
The fixture pitted East Coast Derby rivals Pohang and Ulsan against each other for the first time in the competition and, following a quiet opening 45 minutes, the game sprang into life after the interval with Yun Il-lok giving the defending champions the lead early in the second half.
Hong looks towards domestic titles after holders Ulsan Hyundai exit
Jeonju: Hong Myung-bo has set his sights on winning the domestic double after defending champions Ulsan Hyundai were eliminated in the 2021 AFC Champions League semi-finals following a penalty shootout defeat to East Coast Derby rivals Pohang Steelers on Wednesday.
Yun Il-lok gave Ulsan the lead in the 52nd minute at Jeonju World Cup Stadium but, after Won Du-jae was sent off midway through the second half, Alex Grant headed in a late leveller that forced extra-time and, ultimately, penalties.
Dave Bulthuis, one of the heroes of the 2020 title-winning campaign, blasted the first spot-kick over and, with Pohang netting all five of their penalties, it was the 2009 champions that advanced to a final against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SFC.
We’ll give everything to win AFC Cup, says Nasaf hero Kaluđerović
Karshi: Extra-time hero Andrija Kaluđerović immediately set his sights towards next month’s AFC Cup final after his 106th-minute volley gave FC Nasaf a thrilling 3-2 win over Hong Kong’s Lee Man in Wednesday’s Inter-Zone final at Markaziy Stadium.
The Uzbek side were two goals up and seemingly cruising towards victory after half an hour, but an opportunistic strike from Gil Martins and a Jose Angel penalty saw the visitors force extra-time before Nasaf’s Serbian substitute sealed victory with an instinctive strike on the turn.
It’s nearly two decades since Kaluđerović took his first steps in the professional game, but there will have been few moments as crucial as this one, which sent Nasaf back to the final 10 years after they famously lifted the AFC Cup in 2011.
‘This is for the fans’, say Muharraq’s Al Hayam and Al Malood after reaching final
Arad: The roaring support at Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium on Wednesday was the key to Muharraq Club’s 2-0 victory over Kuwait SC which sent them to the 2021 AFC Cup final, according to pair Waleed Al Hayam and Abdulwahab Al Malood.
The Bahraini side were faced with the challenge of a star-studded Kuwait SC side in the West Zonal Final, with the visitors boasting in their ranks the likes of former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel and Australian international Ryan McGowan, but it was Muharraq Club who walked away with the victory.
AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ set to inspire young girls
New Delhi: The impending football fever in India is fast approaching for Asia’s flagship tournament for women’s football - the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™, which is set to commence on January 20 next year.
The best 12 teams from the Continent will battle it out for the top honours in the competition which will be played across Navi Mumbai, Mumbai and Pune till February 6, 2022.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which unveiled ‘Our Goal for All’ as the official tagline of the prestigious tournament on the 100 days to go milestone date, have confirmed 10 teams for the competition and two more teams will be finalised this week.
Bishkek: Lebanon kept their AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 qualification hopes alive with a 1-0 win over United Arab Emirates at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium on Thursday.
In a game of few chances, a Syntia Salha strike early in the second half proved decisive for the youthful Lebanese outfit, who atoned somewhat for Monday’s 4-0 loss to Myanmar by claiming only their second ever win in AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifying.
Despite Wednesday’s victory, Lebanon still need to defeat Guam on Sunday, and see at least one other result fall their way, if they are to reach the Finals as Group D winners, while UAE also remain in contention despite their defeat, with both sides on three points after two matches.
Bishkek: Myanmar are on the verge of sealing a place at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 thanks to a 8-0 victory over Guam on Thursday.
Win Theingi Tun scored twice and lit up Dolen Omurzakov Stadium with a virtuoso performance that included a direct involvement in six out of the eight goals as Myanmar surged three points clear at the top of the Group D standings with one Matchday remaining.
The result means Tin Myint Aung’s side will simply need to avoid defeat against United Arab Emirates on Sunday to qualify for the continental Finals, a feat they last achieved in 2014.
Young stars ready for action at the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022™ Qualifiers
Kuala Lumpur: The stage is set for Asia’s future stars to shine when the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022™ Qualifiers kick off on Saturday in centralised venues.
With the excitement building up, 39 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Member Associations (MAs) will be vying for 15 available spots to join host Uzbekistan at the keenly anticipated AFC U23 Asian Cup in 2022, which will be staged in the Central Zone for the first time in Asian football history.
Xavi Hernandez and Laurent Blanc anticipate spectacular FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar
Doha: Two FIFA World Cup™ winners – Laurent Blanc, who lifted the trophy with France in 1998, and Xavi Hernandez, a champion with Spain in 2010 – are currently plying their trade as coaches in Qatar, which will host the next edition of international football’s showpiece event in 2022.
Ahead of the next major milestone on the road to Qatar 2022 – the inauguration of Al Thumama Stadium, the sixth World Cup-ready venue – Blanc and Xavi visited the stadium where they will face-off in the dugout.
UAE to host next FIFA Club World Cup in early 2022
Paris: The United Arab Emirates will host the next FIFA Club World Cup early in 2022, FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced on Wednesday.
The latest edition of the tournament - which features the champions of the six continental Confederations along with the top team in the host nation - was due to be played at the end of this year in Japan before it pulled out as host because of the pandemic.