Whilst the majority of the World will most likely be engrossed in UEFA Champions League action, it would be amiss of us not to mention that today is actually the second leg of the AFC Champions League semi finals.
With all four clubs of different nationality, it is in stark contrast to the UCL semi’s off last season. Guangzhou Evergrande of China and FC Seoul of South Korea enter their ties with leads of 4-1 and 2-0 respectively. Kasiwha Reysol of Japan have a daunting task of overhauling a three goal deficit, whilst Esteghlal will need to score at least twice to get back into the game.
Three out of the previous four winners have been South Korean and FC Seoul will be hoping to make it four in five. The last Japanese side to win the tournament was a Yasuhito Endo inspired Gamba Osaka in 2008, and Reysol will be hoping to emulate that side, being 4-1 down though, it looks increasingly unlikely.
Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande are bidding to be the first Chinese winners since Liaoning in 1989/90, when it was in its old format, the Asian Club Championship. Tehran were the last of the Iranian sides to win the continental competition, again in the old format. Esteghlal last won the competition in 1990/91.
The 2nd leg’s should be enthralling matches and we shall report on who makes it to the finals.