West Asian teams have dominated the first leg of the AFC Champions League Quarter Finals played overnight.
Only one East Asian team, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, managed a win and that was against fellow K-League side Suwon Bluewings.
Seongnam, featuring former
Brisbane and Adelaide player Sasa Ognenovski, easily accounted for at the Tancheon Sports Complex. Suwon
Seongnam on the other hand, had only won three of their past seven games, although they are sitting third on the table.
Montenegrin striker Dzenan Radonic struck early to given Seongnam the lead. Colombian Mauricio Molina played Radonic through, who struck with power from the edge of the box.
’s keeper Lee Woon-jae was helpless after the ball took a deflection off defender Kwak Hee-ju. Suwon
Just seven minutes later and the scores were level after a superbly taken free kick from dead-ball expert Yeom Ki-hun. Seongnam conceded a free kick just outside the box and Yeom made them pay with a beautiful free kick that curled around the wall and past the outstretched hand keeper Jung Sung-ryeong
The complexion of the game could’ve changed just moments later had Ha Tae-gyun not fluffed his lines. Yeom’s shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Jung, but Ha failed to make the most of the rebound, scuffing his shot into the ground and seeing the ball bounce over the crossbar.
It was a costly miss, with Seongnam taking the lead just ten minutes later.
failed to deal with a floated ball into the box and Kim Cheol-ho pulled the ball back for Molina to knock home his fifth goal of the campaign and send the home side into the break up 2-1. Suwon
Seongnam wasted two golden opportunities to extend the lead on the hour mark, first through Radonic and then through Song Ho-young. Radonic made amends minutes later when he headed home a delightful cross Hong Chukl.
They’ll need a monumental effort in the return leg to overcome the 4-1 deficit.
Fellow K-League side, and winner of the 2006 AFC Champions League, Jeonbuk Motors are all but out of the competition after losing 0-2 at home to Saudi side Al-Shabab.
This quarter finals appearance was Jeonbuk’s fourth in their history, joining Al-Ittihad as the only side to have played in four AFC Champions League Quarter Finals. Whilst it may have started as a night of celebration, it ended very differently.
Jeonbuk started brightly and Eninho, Sim Woo-yeon and Lee Dong-gook all had chances early to open the scoring but couldn’t get the job done.
|Jeonbuk and Al-Shabab in their ACL Quater Final|
As the half wore on, Al-Shabab started to dominate possession but they too couldn’t find the elusive goal.
Desperate to score at home and get the early advantage, Jeonbuk made a double-substitution early in the second half, bringing on strikers Luiz Henrique and Kruno Lovrek.
It was Al-Shabab who continued to dominate, however, and they should’ve taken the lead just before the hour mark when Omar Al Ghamdi headed over the crossbar from close range.
The crucial away goal came not long after though courtesy of Fahad Hamad, who found himself in the right place at the right time after Ahmed Ateef’s shot could only be deflected by Jeonbuk keeper Kim Min-sik. It was the young midfielders first game and goal of the campaign.
Eninho was denied an equaliser seven minutes later when his free-kick from outside the box struck the woodwork. Jeonbuk enjoyed a sustained period of dominance as they pushed for the all important equaliser, and their cause was aided late on when Al Khaibri was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
But despite playing with 10-men it was Al-Shabab who added a second shortly before full-time when Juan Manuel Olivera drove the ball wide of Kim to ensure the Saudi side would leave Jeonbuk with two crucial away goals.
Al-Shabab manager, Jorge Forsatti, was delighted with his sides performance.
|Action from Zob Ahan and Pohang|
The second legs will take place next Wednesday, but at the moment it looks like the trophy could be headed back to
West Asia for the first time since 2005.