Suwon Samsung Bluewings 0-2 Al Sadd

Suwon: Mamadou Niang’s two second-half goals fired Al Sadd to the brink of a place in the 2011 AFC Champions League Final following a highly-charged Semi Final first leg against Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.

After a goalless first period, Niang opened the scoring in the 70th minute thanks to a deflected shot from outside the box before Al Sadd caught Suwon off guard with a quickly-taken free-kick and the former Marseille striker rounded keeper Jung Sung-ryong to double the lead.

Defiant Suwon Samsung Bluewings coach, Yoon Sung-hyo, insisted their 2011 AFC Champions League dream was far from over despite losing the first leg 2-0 at home.

“We lost 2-0 at home but there is still hope. We will prepare as much as we can for the second leg and try to obtain a win,” the defeated coach said. “We won the away leg of the quarter-final in Zob Ahan and it is possible for us to triumph in Qatar.”

 Al Ittihad 2-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Jeddah: Cho Sung-hwan’s header saw Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors take the upper hand in their 2011 AFC Champions League semi-final with Al Ittihad as the Koreans came from behind to down the hosts 3-2 at Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium.

Jeonbuk stunned the strident home crowd inside the opening minute when Eninho’s corner flicked off two Al Ittihad defenders and ended up in the back of the net.

Al Ittihad levelled just four minutes later through Naif Hazazi’s fine header and the striker then put the Saudi side in front in the 17th minute with an accomplished finish.

Jeonbuk hit back 11 minutes into the second period when Son Seng-jun lashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range and with less than a quarter of an hour to go, Cho rose to head home Eninho’s corner and give his team a crucial advantage for next week’s return leg in Korea.

Al Ittihad coach, Dimitri Davidovic, admitted that his side under-performed and now faced a tough task to overturn the one-goal deficit.

“We know the second leg is going to be extremely difficult as the Korean team has shown a lot of strength,” he said. “I apologise to our fans, who were very generous with their support. I wanted to give them the gift of a better result. However we have to congratulate Jeonbuk on the win.”

The Belgian, though, was optimistic that Al Ittihad can prevail in Korea next week.

“I have enough courage to fully take responsibility for the loss. However, I won’t give up and we will play in the return leg with a warrior’s soul to compensate for the result. Soccer does not know the impossible,” Davidovic added.

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 Source: www.the-afc.com