Saudi clubs eye semi-final landmark
© AFP

History could be made in the 2012 AFC Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Saudi Arabia aiming to become the first nation to have three teams reach the semi-final stage.

Leading the charge are two-time winners Al Ittihad, who travel to Guangzhou Evergrande hoping to hold onto their 4-2 first-leg lead, while Al Ahli welcome Iranian champions Sepahan having being held to a goalless draw in the first leg. Al Hilal, meanwhile, are looking to translate their dynamic home form onto the Asian stage as they see to overturn a 1-0 defeat at Ulsan Hyundai.

Elsewhere, having come from two goals down to draw in Adelaide, Bunyodkor will look to capitalise on their away goals as they target their second semi-final appearance. Join FIFA.com as we preview these intriguing match-ups from across continent.

The match
Guangzhou Evergrande-Al Ittihad
Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande can boast a full-strength team heading into the decider against Al Ittihad with the return of a series of key players. Having missed the opener as Guangzhou twice threw away their lead to lose, both Zhang Linpeng and Zhao Xuri return from suspension to shore up the midfield alongside star playmaker Dario Conca. Muriqui, who played 36 minutes in the first leg before getting injury, is likely to return to shoulder the goalscoring burden.

While the hosts are hoping to become the first Chinese side to seal a semi-final place since Shenzhen in 2006, the visitors are motivated to earn a fifth last-four appearance. There is added incentive for Raul Caneda's side, who can proceed to the final to set up a possible all-Saudi meeting with Al Hilal.

Al Ittihad arrive in Guangzhou on the back of a 1-0 home defeat of Al Wahda as they maintained their unbeaten run in the domestic league. The home side, though, must push aside their 2-1 loss at struggling Qingdao Jonoon, a result which saw them concede top place to Jiangsu Sainty on goal difference.

The other attractions
Having played out a goalless draw, both Al Ahli and Sepahan enter the second leg boosted by their recent prolific home form. The Saudi hosts put three unanswered goals past Al Faysali, while the Iranians returned to the top of the local league with a 2-0 defeat of Malavan. Zlatko Kranjcar's visitors can count on dangerous Iran international forward Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, who struck the woodwork in the previous match. Karel Jarolim's home side, for their part, will look to dynamic captain Taisir Al Jassim who also came close to opening the scoring in Esfahan.

If their recent 6-0 dismantling of Al Raed is anything to go by, it seems that Al Hilal are set to turn the table against Ulsan Hyundai at home. Yasser Al Qahtani completed a treble and Korean import Byung-Soo Yoo also scored a brace as the Riyadh side produced the biggest win of the latest round in the Saudi League. The hosts, however, must keep wary of the visitors' in-form striker Rafinha, who netted the only goal in their last meeting, before being on target in their 2-1 loss to FC Seoul.

The 2-2 home draw against Bunyodkor was a case of missed opportunities for Adelaide, with the Reds throwing away an early two-goal lead as the Uzbeks earned a share of the spoils. Adelaide’s visit to Tashkent is not helped by the suspension of defender Nigel Boogaard, who was red-carded in the opening leg. Aside from the two away goals, Mirdjalal Kasimov's home side enter their sixth meeting against the Australians on the back of a 3-1 weekend victory over Metallurg Bekabad. Having lost 2-1 in Tashkent against the Reds during the group stage, Bunyodkor will have added incentive to secure a home win.

Player to watch
With 83 goals in 158 appearances to his name during his six-year spell with Al Hilal, Yasser Al Qahtani rediscovered his goalscoring form with a first hat-trick following his recent return from Al Ain.

The stat
8
- Al Ittihad, Sepahan and Al Hilal are among the tournament's most seasoned campaigners with each boasting eight participations, two short of record-holding Uzbeks Pakhtakor.

What they said
"We don't necessarily need to win the match at Guangzhou, taking into consideration our two-goal cushion. Keeping the backline tight is our priority in the away game but we have goalscorers in Naif Hazazi, Diego Souza and Mohammed Noor, all of whom can breach the opponent's rearguard," Al Ittihad coach Raul Caneda

AFC Champions League, quarter-finals, second leg
2 October
Guangzhou Evergrande-Al Ittihad
Al Ahli-Sepahan

3 October
Bunyodkor-Adelaide United
Al Hilal-Ulsan Hyundai