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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round to be played in centralised venues
Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round will be converted from the conventional home and away format to single round robin ties to be played in centralised venues.
The decision was taken by the AFC Executive Committee after taking into consideration the existing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while prioritising the safety and wellbeing of all stakeholders in the lead-up to the Finals of Asia’s premier men’s national team tournament, which will be held in China PR from June 16 to July 16, 2023.
It was agreed that the three Match Days would be held on June 8, 11 and 14, 2022, with the AFC opening in due course the bidding process to all Participating Member Associations to express their interest in hosting the AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round.
Similar to the bidding process of all centralised AFC Competitions in 2021, a wide range of requirements have been put in place to ensure adherence to the highest health and safety protocols and standards.
These include minimum travel and quarantine restrictions for all participating teams, convenience of flight connections to the host country, the medical situation in the host country, sufficient venues to organise the matches and most importantly, mandatory COVID-19 test to be organised for all players and officials upon arrival and during the duration of the competition under the guidance of the AFC’s Infection Control Officers.
The new match schedule may be amended where necessary pursuant to relevant provisions of the competition regulations.
Following the conclusion of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Play-off stage earlier this month, Indonesia and Cambodia sealed the final two spots in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round after 22 teams clinched their places in June’s Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2.
UAE’s Taheri eager to not let up after comeback win over Guam
Bishkek: A stirring come-from-behind win against Guam kept United Arab Emirates’ dream of AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 qualification alive - now head coach Houriya Taheri wants to make it a reality.
Staring down the barrel of defeat after a defensive error allowed Aprl Talledo to put Guam ahead, the Emiratis dug deep to turn the game around at Bishkek’s Dolen Omurzakov Stadium on Monday.
Naeema Gharib’s willingness to press paid off when she intercepted a wayward pass from Guam shot stopper Kiarra Hutcherson before slotting home the equaliser, and captain Nouf Faleh Al Anzi provided the winner from the penalty spot with less than 10 minutes remaining to spark mass celebrations.