Seongnam reach AFC Champions League final

Seongnam reach AFC Champions League final

There will be Korean representation in the AFC Champions League final for the second year in succession as Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma overcame Saudi Arabian opponents Al Shabab on away goals this evening to book their spot in November’s Tokyo final.

Seongnam had gone into the second leg of the tie looking to overturn the 4-3 defeat they suffered in Riyadh on October 5th, and they got the goal they needed in the 31st minute through 24 year-old forward Jo Dong-keun with the forward getting on the end of a Dzenan Radoncic flick from a Ko Jae-sung ball forward to fire his side to their first continental tournament final since 2004, the 1-0 win putting Shin Tae-yong’s side through on away goals with the tie level at 4-4.

They will have to do without their talismanic frontman Radoncic in the final however as his yellow card means he will miss the match through suspension.

Shin’s side started their AFC Champions League campaign with a 2-0 home win over Kawasaki Frontale in the group stages, and followed that up with double victories over Chinese cracks Beijing Guoan and Australian side Melbourne Victory, and though Kawasaki got revenge with a 3-0 win in Japan Seongnam finished top of their group and earned a home tie in the last sixteen.

Mauricio Molina was on target twice as Seongnam cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Gamba Osaka at Tancheon back in May to set up a quarter-final clash with domestic rivals Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Seongnam romped to a 4-1 home victory in the first leg on their much-criticized home turf before enduring a nervy second ninety minutes in Suwon as the Bluewings took a 2-0 lead and threatened to end the Chunma’s trophy hopes, however there was no further scoring and Seongnam emerged victorious 4-3 on aggregate.

In October’s semi-final first leg Seongnam squandered the lead on three occasions before Faisal Al Sultan’s late winner gave Al Shabab the upper hand at the halfway point of the tie, but Jo’s strike ensured that Seongnam have the chance to succeed Pohang Steelers as champions of Asia. Their opponents in November 13th’s final will be Iranian side Zob Ahan who eliminated Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal 2-0 on aggregate to earn the right to play at Tokyo’s National Olympic Stadium.

Ilhwa Chunma will be looking to pick up their second continental championship having previously won the Asian Club Championship, the predecessor to the current tournament, with a 1-0 extra time win over Saudi side Al-Nasr in the 1995-96 edition. They finished runners-up to Pohang Steelers in 1996-97, and again finished second best in the revamped tournament in 2004 when they lost out to Saudi Arabian powerhouse Al Ittihad 6-3 on aggregate.

The Road To Tokyo 2010
23/02/10: Seongnam 2-0 Kawasaki Frontale (Group E)
09/03/10: Melbourne Victory 0-2 Seongnam (Group E)
23/03/10: Seongnam 3-1 Beijing Guoan (Group E)
31/03/10: Beijing Guoan 0-1 Seongnam (Group E)
14/04/10: Kawasaki Frontale 3-0 Seongnam (Group E)
28/04/10: Seongnam 3-2 Melbourne Victory (Group E)
11/05/10: Seongnam 3-0 Gamba Osaka (Round of 16)
15/09/10: Seongnam 4-1 Suwon (Quarter-final first leg)
22/09/10: Suwon 2-0 Seongnam (Quarter-final second leg, Seongnam win 4-3 on aggregate)
05/10/10: Al Shabab 4-3 Seongnam (Semi-final first leg)
20/10/10: Seongnam 1-0 Al Shabab (Semi-final second leg, 4-4 on aggregate; Seongnam win on away goals)

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  1. Woongsoo /

    Great stuff Mark! Thought Sasa was really solid today. Too bad about Hong Chul’s and Radonicic’s supsension.

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