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AFC Champions League Review: Gamba snatch late winner, Al-Ahli cruise into last four

Gamba Osaka will meet Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League semi-finals after a 3-2 victory over Jeonbuk Motors on Wednesday.

J.League champions Gamba, ACL winners in 2008, needed a stoppage-time winner from Koki Yonekura to seal their progression in the second leg, snatching victory from the grasp of their South Korean opponents.

After a goalless first leg, it was Jeonbuk who struck first in Suita as Leonardo converted a 13th-minute penalty, but Patric immediately levelled amid comical Gamba defending from a free-kick – which saw an attempted offside trap hopelessly fail.

Shu Kurata looked to have put Osaka in the last four with a strike with 14 minutes to play, until Urko Vera levelled for the visitors, giving them the advantage via the away-goals rule.

However the drama was far from over as substitute Yonekura fired past Kwon Soon-tae in the 93rd minute to leave the visitors slumped on the pitch in despair.

The second semi-final will see Al-Hilal meet Al-Ahli after the latter beat Naft Tehran 2-1 in Dubai, securing a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Rodrigo Lima’s long-range effort after 26 minutes for the hosts put one foot in the last four, and when Ahmed Khalil converted a penalty early in the second half, their progression looked assured.

Naft – playing in their first Champions League campaign – refused to lie down, though, and pulled one back through Vahid Armin but it was not enough.

Wed 16 Sep, 2015
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