It is once again east versus west in this year's AFC Champions League final, with Jeonbuk Motors and Al Sadd emerging the respective aggregate victors after Wednesday's semi-final second legs to set up an intriguing finale.
A 2-1 home win over Al Ittihad saw 2006 winners Jeonbuk through 5-3 on aggregate, with the Korean champions now fixing their sights on their second Asian title. Despite losing 1-0 at home, Al Sadd still progressed at the expense of Suwon Bluewings courtesy of their 2-0 first-leg win. The triumph marked a history-making achievement for the Qataris, who became the first team from the Gulf nation to reach the final. Join FIFA.com as we review all the action.
Jeonbuk 2-1 Al Ittihad
Jeonbuk forward Eninho was the two-goal hero as the hosts defeated ten-man Ittihad to round off their semi-final in style. Entering the return leg with a one-goal deficit, the visitors knew they had to throw caution to the wind. Their hopes of recovery, however, were dealt a severe blow when Naif Hazazi was shown red after just 11 minutes after clashing with Jeonbuk captain Cho Sung-Hwan off the ball.
Capitalising on the numerical advantage, the hosts pushed forward and their efforts soon paid dividends when Eninho opened the scoring midway through the first half. The impressive Brazilian went on to double the lead in unusual fashion by catching goalkeeper Mabrouk Zaid out directly from a corner, seven minutes from break. At the other end, Ittihad pulled one back on 72 minutes through Brazilian Wendel but Jeonbuk defended gallantly thereafter to make sure there were no late scares.
The other attraction
Al Sadd 0-1 Suwon
Both sides entered the all-important re-match seeking a place in their first Champions League final, but it was Suwon that was faced with an uphill task, trailing 2-0 from the first leg. Determined to get back into contention, the Korean visitors got off to a perfect start when Oh Jang-Eun volleyed home after six minutes. The hosts responded with Khalfan Ibrahim hitting the bar soon afterwards but missing their striking duo of Kader Keita and Mamadou Niang, the Qatari side were made to sweat for the majority of the opening half as Suwon continued to press forward seeking a second goal to force extra time.
The Koreans went on to heap the pressure on the hosts after the restart and they should have levelled the aggregate scoreline when Lee Yong-Rae's cross perfectly picked out Mato Neretljak, only for the defender to agonisingly head wide. The remainder of the game was far from one-way traffic, with Al Sadd threatening on the break and Ibrahim nearly caught Suwon out with a late strike.
Eninho's brace not only sealed a final place for Jeonbuk, but also saw him moving to second in the tournament scoring chart with six goals, three shy of team-mate Lee Dong-Gook's nine.
5 - This year’s final marks the fifth time that the Asian title will be decided between representatives from the continent’s east and west.
What they said
“It was a hard game for us as we couldn't play the game as we would have liked to. But when we finished the 180 minutes of play, we were happy when we look at the final score,” Al Sadd coach Jorge Fossati
Semi-final second legs results
Jeonbuk Motors 2-1 Al Ittihad
Al Sadd 0-1 Suwon Bluewings