ACL Review: Gamba Osaka and Al Ahli cruise into last four

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Gamba Osaka Jeonbuk Motors

3-2 (agg. 3-2)

Japanese champions Gamba Osaka secured their place in the semi-final with a 3-2 win over ’s Jeonbuk Motors on Wednesday, which also set as the aggregate score after both sides finished the first leg with a goalless draw.

It was Jeonbuk who struck first in Suita as Leonardo converted a 13th-minute penalty, before Patric immediately equalised the score a minute later. Shu Kurata put Gamba ahead with a 76th-minute strike but Urko Vera levelled for the visitors in the 88th minute.

However, a late drama happened deep in stoppage time as substitute Koki Yonekura fired past Kwon Soon-tae to seal Gamba’s progression to the last four, where they will meet Guangzhou Evergrande of China at the end of the month.

(Image credit: The-AFC.com)

(Image credit: The-AFC.com)

Al Ahli 2-1 Naft Tehran (agg. 3-1)

Al Ahli recorded their own history to become the third team to reach the Asian Champions League semi-final this season after defeating Iran’s Naft Tehran 2-1 at home on Wednesday, securing a 3-1 aggregate victory.

The home side got the opening goal in the 26th minute as Lima netted the ball through his long-range effort. Al Ahli doubled the scoreline when UAE star Ahmed Khalil converted a penalty early in the second half.

Naft pulled one back through Vahid Armin in the 50th minute but it was not enough to help his team qualify for the further round in their first ACL campaign. The victory saw Al Ahli to face Saudi Arabia giants Al Hilal in the first leg of semi-final in Riyadh on September 29, while the return leg will be played on October 20.

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