The East Zone in both the AFC Cup and the AFC Champions League produced some cracking encounters on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the line-up in both competitions was whittled down to just eight teams.
Shandong Luneng left it late, very late, to book their spot in the quarter-finals. FC Sydney looked set to progress 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 2-1 win on the night, but Hao Junmin’s 90th-minute effort meant the Chinese Super League outfit went through on the away goals rule.
FC Seoul left it even later to claw their way past Urawa Red Diamonds. It was the J-League side who held the aces heading into the second leg after claiming a 1-0 win in the first, but FC Seoul certainly had no intention of rolling over and accepting defeat.
After Wednesday’s match ended in a pulsating 3-3 aggregate draw, penalties were required to separate the two teams. After Yoshiaki Komai had missed Urawa’s eighth penalty, Kim Dong-woo stepped up and found the back of the net to seal FC Seoul’s place in the last eight.
In the West Zone, Lekhwiya’s 4-2 win away from home was not enough to prevent them from crashing out, while Al Ain are through to the quarters after downing Zob Ahan 2-0.
They join Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Shanghai SIPG, Lokomotiv and Al Nasr in the quarter-finals.
In the AFC Cup, Bengaluru caused an upset as they downed Kitchee 3-2 in Hong Kong in what was an entertaining match from start to finish.
Five goals may have been considered a considerable scoring spree, but that paled in comparison to Johor Darul Ta’zim’s 7-2 battering of Kaya F.C. The defending champions were ruthless in their dispatching of the Filipino outfit, scoring four goals in the first half without response from their visitors.
In the West Zone, Al Murarraq downed Al Faisaly 1-0, while Al Jaish claimed a 1-0 win over Nafit Al-Wasat.
They join South China, Tampines Rovers, Al Ahed and Air Force Club in the quarter-finals.
AFC Champions League quarter-final line-up:
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
AFC Cup quarter-final line-up:
Johor Darul Ta’zim