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.
Pohang Steelers edge Ulsan Hyundai on penalties to book final berth
Jeonju: Pohang Steelers will take on 2019 winners Al Hilal in the final of the 2021 AFC Champions League next month after Kim Gi-dong’s side eliminated 10-man defending champions Ulsan Hyundai 5-4 in a penalty shootout at Jeonju Stadium after Wednesday’s semi-final ended in a 1-1 draw.
Davy Bulthuis’ miss in the opening round of the shootout cost Hong Myung-bo’s side the opportunity to become only the second club to successfully defend the title since the competition’s creation in 2002 with Kang Sang-woo hitting the decisive fifth spot-kick for Pohang.
Yun Il-lok had scored the opener seven minutes into the second half for Ulsan but Alex Grant’s 89th minute header after Won Du-jae’s 68th minute sending off took the game into extra-time.
With neither side able to score again in the additional 30 minutes, Bulthuis’ penalty miss – when he fired high over Lee Jun’s goal with the first kick of the decider – proved decisive to keep Pohang on track for a record fourth Asian club championship title.
Al Dawsari credits Al Hilal's big game experience for semi-final victory
Riyadh: Winger Salem Al Dawsari hailed Al Hilal SFC’s experience in big games as a decisive factor in their 2-1 win over archrivals Al Nassr to reach the 2021 AFC Champions League final on Tuesday.
A second consecutive Man of The Match display from the 30-year-old saw him bag the winner to earn his side a place in the final for the fourth time since 2014.
Former FC Porto striker Moussa Marega opened the scoring for the Blues after 17 minutes, firing home from a narrow angle after a fine Bafetimbi Gomis pass. Anderson Talisca brought Al Nassr level five minutes after the restart before Al Dawsari settled matters with a well-taken finish in the 71st minute.
Riyadh: Al Nassr head coach Pedro Emanuel believes his side were unfortunate not to come away with the win having fallen to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their cross-city rivals Al Hilal SFC in the 2021 AFC Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.
The result marks the second year in a row that Al Nassr exit at this stage, but the Portuguese tactician - who only joined the club three weeks earlier - spoke of pride in his players’ attitude.
Magic Mitoma, Al Ammari, Alipour and more: Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week
Kuala Lumpur: Many returned to club duty after a crucial international break, but there was little let up in quality from the Asian players plying their trade outside the continent.
Son Heung-min, Amir Al Ammari and Ali Gholizadeh hit the ground running after returning to their respective European homes, Kaoru Mitoma scored a sensational hat-trick in Belgium while Tang Jiall struck a blow for Chinese women’s football in England.
But who deserves the title of AFC International Player of the Week? Study our 10 nominees – based on performances from October 13 to 19 – and don’t forget to register your vote.
Nasaf advance after Inter-Zone thriller with Lee Man
Karshi: An extra-time strike from substitute Andrija Kaluđerović sent Nasaf to the 2021 AFC Cup Final after a thrilling Inter-zone final against Lee Man of Hong Kong ended 3-2 after extra time at Markaziy Stadium on Wednesday.
The Uzbek side looked to be cruising into the decider when an Fernando Recio own goal and Khusain Norchaev’s seventh of the tournament had them 2-0 up after 26 minutes, but the visitors produced a stirring response to force extra-time thanks to second half goals from Gil Martins and Jose Angel.
But Kaluđerović emerged as the hero, volleying home in the 106th minute as Nasaf booked a place in next month’s decider against Muharraq Club of Bahrain, who defeated Kuwait SC 2-0 in the West Zonal final on Wednesday.
Muharraq Club cruise past Kuwait SC in West Zonal final
Muharraq: Bahrain's Muharraq Club will contest their third AFC Cup final, after comfortably beating Kuwait SC 2-0 in the 2021 AFC Cup West Zonal Final on Wednesday to reach the competition's decider on November 5.
Muharraq will face FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan - who defeated Hong Kong's Lee Man earlier on Wednesday - in the final.