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AFC Champions League wrap: Saudis make semis

Saudi Arabia rivals Al Ittihad and Al Ahli will clash for a place in the AFC Champions League final after grabbing victories on Tuesday.

Al Ittihad advanced to the semi-finals 5-4 on aggregate after a 2-1 loss at Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

Al Ittihad, who beat Guangzhou 4-2 in the first leg of their quarter-final two weeks ago, progressed courtesy of Fahad Al Muwallad’s 78th-minute goal.

Lucas Barrios opened the scoring in the 19th minute before Dario Conca doubled Guangzhou’s advantage with a 35th-minute penalty.

But their efforts were in vain as Al Muwallad’s deflected strike sent Marcello Lippi’s men crashing out of the competition.

“Football can be very cruel at times and unfair,” Lippi said.

“We played well and had plenty of chances to score. Unfortunately we have been eliminated and I want to thank the players for their efforts in this game, they have been playing like a team.”

In Jeddah, Al Ahli accounted for Iranian outfit Sepahan 4-1 on aggregate after a scoreless draw in the first leg.

Amad Al Hosni netted a brace for the home side, while Victor Simoes added a penalty and Abdulrahim Jaizawi put the result beyond doubt with a 69th-minute goal.

Sepahan benefited from a Kamel Al Mor own goal in the opening half, but were left to rue the dismissal of goalkeeper Reza Mohammadi in the 27th minute.

The semi-finals will take place over two legs from October 24.

Tue 2 Oct, 2012
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