Ulsan tops Jembuk, reaches semi-finals of Asian Champions League

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ Han Kyo-won celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal against Ulsan Hyundai during their quarter final soccer match for the AFC Champions League at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, South Korea, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Seoul, South Korea (AP) — Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i began preparing for a second consecutive continental title by beating Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-2 in the Asian Champions League quarter-finals on Sunday.

Ulsan, who also won in 2012, needed extra time to beat their South Korean rival.

Knockout ties in the tournament have been changed from the usual two-legged bouts to a single game due to the pandemic.

Georgian midfielder Valery Kazishvili put Ulsan ahead at Jeonju World Cup Stadium after 13 minutes, winning only for Han Kyo-Jonbuk, who was the champion in 2006 and 2016.

Just before the break, Yun Il-Lok restored Ulsan’s lead. It didn’t last long when Jeonbuk made a comeback, this time through Takahiro Kunimoto at the start of the second half.

After 101 minutes, South Korea international Lee Dong-gyeong hit the winner with a fierce shot from outside the field.

The next semi-final for Ulsan will take place on Wednesday against South Korean rivals Pohang Steelers.

Pohang defeated Nagoya Grampus of Japan 3-0, aiming for a record fourth Asian title.

Lim Sang-hyub opened the scoring for eight minutes in the second half and Lee Seung-mo added a second with 20 minutes to go. Lim’s second second in injury time sealed the victory.

The winner will face Saudi Arabia in the final on 23 November.

Three-time champion Al-Hilal beat Iran’s Persepolis 3-0 in Riyadh, thanks to two goals from former France international striker Bafetimbi Gomis and a long-range strike from Salem al-Dawsari.

Al-Hilal will face Riyadh’s rival Al-Nasr in the semi-finals on Tuesday. Al-Nasr defeated Al-Wahda of the United Arab Emirates 5-1 in their first game under new Portuguese coach Pedro Emanuel.

The final will take place in Riyadh.

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