AFC Champions League 2018: Semifinals Review - First leg

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Persepolis and Kashima gain advantages after the first leg of the semifinals of Asia's biggest club tournament...

The AFC Champions League 2018 semifinals first legs have taken place. Here's what happened this week:


Al Sadd 0-1 Persepolis (Alipour 86')


Iran's Persepolis have pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over Qatar's Al Sadd away from home to gain a vital advantage. 

The match got off to a typically edgy start with both teams testing each other out. Al Sadd's Akram Afif and Persepolis' Godwin Mensha missed early chances but there were not many opening in the first half. 

Al Sadd showed more intent at the start of the second half but Persepolis put up a determined show at the back. However, in the 86th minute, Persepolis shocked the home crowd. Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb brought down Ali Alipour in the box after a counter-attack and conceded a penalty. Alipour himself converted it to hand his side the win and a vital away goal advantage. 


Kashima Antlers 3-2 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Ho-Ik 21' (OG) Serginho 84' Uchida 90+2' - Uchida 2' (OG) Damjanovic 6')


Japan's Kashima Antlers pulled off a remarkable comeback to win 3-2 at home in their first leg encounter against Suwon Bluewings. 

The match got off to a racy start as Suwon pulled ahead through an own goal by Atsuto Uchida. Koo Ja-ryong's effort went in off te shoulder of Uchida and Suwon built on that by doubling their lead four minutes later. Dejan Damjanovic capitalised on a poor clearance, surged forward and beat the goalkeeper at his near post. 

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Kashima received a helping hand in the 21st minute as Jang Ho-ik headed into his own net after a Serginho cross. Kashima kept pushing Suwon back as the match progressed and finally equalised in the 84th minute. Daigo Nishi sent in a perfect low cross which was stroked in by Serginho. 

In stoppage time, Uchida turned hero as the full-back lashed home after a freekick fell to him inside the box. 

 

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