- 2011 champions Al Sadd reach last four
- Suwon eliminate Jeonbuk in dramatic fashion
- Two re-meetings set in semi-finals
Former winners Al Sadd set up an intriguing semi-final re-meeting with Persepolis – who they faced in the group stage – after the two sides prevailed over two legs in their respective quarter-final clashes against Esteghlal and Al Duhail. The same can be said of Kashima Antlers and Suwon Bluewings, who will re-unite in the last-four encounter having eliminated Tianjin Quanjian and Jeonbuk Motors.
Al Sadd came from behind to draw against Esteghlal 2-2 at home but progressed courtesy of their 3-1 first-leg victory. Persepolis, for their part, fought back to register a 3-1 home win to progress with a tense 3-2 aggregate win against Al Duhail. In the east, it was a straightforward task for Kashima who followed up their 2-0 home win with a resounding 3-0 away triumph against debutants Tianjin. Suwon, though, needed penalties to edge two-time winners Jeonbuk.
Al Sadd 2-2 Esteghlal (5-3 agg)
Persepolis 3-1 Al Duhail (3-2)
Tianjin Quanjian 0-3 Kashima Antlers (0-5)
Suwon Bluewings 0-3 (ET) Jeonbuk Motors (3-3, 4-2 pens)
While Suwon produced the biggest surprise by knocking out strongly-favoured Jeonbuk, they were indebted to custodian Shin Hwayong who saved three spot-kicks as they progressed in dramatic fashion. The first came in second-half stoppage-time when the two sides were locked 3-3 on aggregate and Jeonbuk won a penalty. With so much at stake, Shin kept his cool to deny Adriano to force extra time before twice saving in the shoot-out.
It was IR Iran versus Qatar in West Asia with each of their two remaining representatives facing each other. However, it ended with shared spoils with each country boasting a team in the last four.
Goalscoring record at stake
With 12 goals garnered so far, Al Sadd’s Baghdad Bounedjah is currently topping the tournament goalscoring chart. The 26-year-old Algerian striker is just a goal shy of the all-time goalscoring record set by Brazilian Muriqui and, with at least two matches still to go, the in-form marksman is likely to set a new benchmark.
Dejan Damjanovic proved once again that he is still in his goalscoring prime. The Montenegrin striker, now 37, has played a key role in helping Suwon go all the way to the last four. He scored a brace to help Suwon to a 3-0 first-leg victory, before making no mistake from the spot to set his side on the road to a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win.
Kashima Antlers-Suwon Bluewings
Suwon Bluewings-Kashima Antlers