The quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League is underway with this week witnessing the first legs of the match ups. Three of the four games have already taken place with some interesting results. Let’s take a look at what happened:
AL AIN 0-0 AL-HILAL
UAE’s Al Ain were held to a goalless draw at home by Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in an entertaining AFC Champions League quarter final at Hazza Bin Zayed stadium on Monday night.
It was a surprise that the game produced no goals, given how open and free flowing was the football on display from both sides. In fact, both teams had managed to score in the first half, only to be denied by the linesman’s offside flag. Al Hilal’s Omar Khribin and Al Ain;s Douglas were the unfortunate victims.
Al Ain’s star playmaker Omar Abdulrahman forced Al Hilal goalkeeper into a fine save from a freekick around the hour mark but the goal eluded them. There was late drama when defender Mohanad Salem was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 68th minute, but Al Hilal could not force a winner and the game ended in a stalemate.
The visitors will be the happier set of players after the result as they prepare for a home second leg.
PERSEPOLIS 2-2 AL AHLI [Khalilzadeh 72′ Mensha 84′ – Al Soma 2′ da Silva 58′]
Iran’s Persepolis had to conjure up with a comeback act of the highest order to salvage a 2-2 draw at home against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli in a dramatic AFC Champions League quarter final first leg on Tuesday night.
The visitors, Al Ahli, were off the mark quickly at Muscat as striker Omar Al Soma fired them into the lead in the second minute. The Syrian reacted first after the Persepolis keeper spilled a shot from Saleh Al Jamaan. The scores remained the same at half-time but before the hour mark, Al Ahli went two goals up when new signing Leonardo da Silva came up with a fine finish to convert a pass from Al Jamaan.
To their credit, Persepolis mounted a brilliant fightback to save the day in the final twenty minutes. Shojae Khalilzadeh headed in from close range to pull a goal back before Nigerian Godwin Mensha equalised with a fine finish to ensure the night did not turn out to be a disaster for the Iranian team.
SHANGHAI SIPG 4-0 GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE [Hulk 38′ Shenchao 45+1′ Wu Lei 62′, 64′]
Shanghai SIPG have all but sealed their place in the AFC Champions League semifinals after a 4-0 hammering dished out to fellow-Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarterfinal first leg at home on Tuesday night.
Andre-Villas Boas were imperious at home and made their fine start to the game count with the lead in the 38th minute. Brazilian star forward Hulk converted a spotkick won by Wu Lei before captain Wang Shenchao made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time with a header that crept under the legs of Zeng Cheng.
The night was about to get worse for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side when Wu Lei wreaked havoc with a quickfire brace just after the hour mark. Lei finished off two quick, Shanghai counterattacks to leave Guangzhou reeling. Andre Villas-Boas’ side could have scored more if not for the profligacy shown by Elkeson and Hulk as they enjoyed one of their finest performances on the continent.
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