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Ulsan, Kobe enter AFC Champions League semis

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Doha, Dec 11 (IANS) Ulsan Hyundai and Vissel Kobe have reached the AFC Champions League (ACL) semi-finals and the duo will fight for a final ticket on December 13.

Junior Negrao contributed two goals for Ulsan Hyundai, helping the South Korean club see off Beijing Guo’an 2-0 in the quarterfinal on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Ulsan won all four previous meetings with Guoan in the AFC Champions League in 2009 and 2012. The game on Thursday was the first ACL quarterfinal appearance for Guo’an.

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Junior calmly converted a penalty with a powerful shot into the corner after a video review showed a handball by Guo’an defender Kim Min-jae in the 16th minute.

In the 25th minute, Renato Augusto of Beijing almost leveled the score, but his close-range powerful shot was denied by Ulsan’s goalkeeper Jo So-huk. Jonathan Viera forced Jo into an other good save 10 minutes later.

Before the break, Junior added the second through a long-range shot after collecting a Beijing defender’s poor clearance.

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Viera almost pulled one back for Guo’an in the 64th minute, but his low shot was denied by the right post. Ulsan’s solid defensive system held strong, and Guo’an missed many chances.

Suwon Bluewings saw off Vissel Kobe 2-0 in the group stage, but the South Korean club failed to make their rivals go home in their clash in the knockout stage.

In their third meeting in the 2020 ACL, Vissel Kobe edged 10-man Suwon Bluewings 7-6 on penalties after the 120 minutes ended 1-1.

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Park Sang-Hyeok gave Suwon the lead in the seventh minute, seeing his header find the net.

Kim Tae-Hwan of Suwon was sent off in the 38th minute, allowing his rival Kyogo Furuhashi to get the equalizer through a free kick. The two sides battled out a thrilling draw in 120 minutes at Al Janoub Stadium.

In the penalty shootout, the first six players of each side found the back of the net, with only Jang Ho-Ik of Suwon missing his penalty in the seventh round.

Noriaki Fujimoto’s low shot found the net, throwing the ACL debutants into frenzy.

–IANS

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