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.
Doha: On Tuesday, two of West Asia’s most decorated club sides will clash in the AFC Champions League for the tenth time, but the history of continental matchups between Al Hilal and Al Sadd extends back two decades, before the inception of the competition.
When the AFC Champions League was inaugurated in 2002-03, Al Sadd and Al Hilal became the maiden representatives of their respective countries in the competition.
Both sides had already been continental champions, with Al Sadd lifting the Asian Club Championship trophy in 1989 and Al Hilal following suit three years later before adding a second title in 1999-2000.
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.