The second legs of the AFC Champions League semifinals are all set to take place this week as the competition draws ever so close to the final. Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds will be hosting Shanghai SIPG while Iran's Persepolis will be welcoming Al Hilal in the other game.
Let's take a look at what awaits us:
AL HILAL (KSA) v PERSEPOLIS (IRN)
Persepolis have a mountain of sorts to climb when they host Al Hilal on Tuesday, looking to claim a very unlikely spot in the all-important final. It is so because of the 4-0 hammering they suffered in the first leg away, which almost guarantees Al Hilal's spot in the summit clash.
Persepolis, playing at this stage of the competition for the first time, had exceeded expectations to reach here but were given a harsh lesson by their Saudi Arabian opponents. Al Hilal were just too good on the night as they seized control of the tie in masterly fashion, thanks to a brilliant hat-trick from Omar Khribin.
On Tuesday, Al Hilal have a very simple job of trying to finish off Persepolis' challenge while the Iranians will hope to draw inspiration from Guangzhou Evergrande who almost overthrew a 4-0 deficit in the quarterfinals against Shanghai SIPG. Even though Al Hilal will be without the services of Abdullah Ateef, who was sent off in the first leg, Persepolis are not expected to make much of this tie.
Date: Oct 17, 21:30 UTC+5.30
Venue: Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat
URAWA RED DIAMONDS (JPN) v SHANGHAI SIPG (CHN)
Urawa Red Diamonds hold a slender advantage going into their AFC Champions League semifinal second leg clash against Shanghai SIPG at home on Wednesday. Having drawn the first leg 1-1 away, the Japanese team have an away goal bonus which might turn out to be extremely crucial.
Shanghai SIPG, who are normally prolific at home, would have been surprised to be held 1-1at home, with Hulk scoring their goal while Kashiwage Yusuke scored the equaliser. Urawa did well to limit the star-studded Shanghai team which has the likes of Oscar and Elkeson and now will be supremely hopeful of clinching victory at home.
Moreover, Andre Villas-Boas' side are not the perfect travellers and could be in for a tough night on Wednesday. They find themselves in a position where they have to score since a goalless draw will suit Urawa Red Diamonds, who themselves have scored a lot of goals at home. All in all, we're set for a huge game.
Date: Oct 18, 16:00 UTC+5.30
Venue: Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama