AFC Champions League 2018: Semifinals Preview - First leg

Who will gain an advantage in the first leg of the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League....

The AFC Champions League 2018 semifinals are about to commence. Here is a look at what awaits us in a crucial week with the first leg action set to unfold: 

Al Sadd (QAT) v Persepolis (IRN)

Qatar's Al Sadd will be up against Iranian visitors Persepolis in the first leg of their AFC Champions League semifinals on Tuesday. 

Al Sadd are the only team who have won the tournament before and are still in contention and will be the favourites in this fixture. They have been in good form in the knockouts, getting the better of Al Ahli and Esteghlal in the knockout stages. They have not lost since the group stages and will be primed for another win on Tuesday. 

Persepolis, on the other hand, have been playing out of their skins, much like how they did last year, to reach this stage. They upstaged a strong Al Duhail side in the quarter-finals and will not be easy prey for Al Sadd. They are a resilient team and will pose trouble for the Qataris. 

Venue: Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: October 2, 18:15 UTC+3


Kashima Antlers (JPN) v Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR)

Japan's Kashima Antlers make their first ever foray into the semifinals of the AFC Champions League when they host Korea's Suwon Bluewings on Wednesday. 

Interestingly, both teams met each other twice in the group stages, sharing a win a piece. Kashima have slain a couple of Chinese giants in Shanghai SIPG and Tianjin Quanjian in their run to this stage. 

Suwon, who have reached the semifinal stage once before, eliminated domestic rivals Ulsan Hyundai and two-time winners Jeonbuk Motors on penalties after an almighty scare. 

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Venue: Kashima Soccer Stadium, Kashima

Kick-off: October 3, 19:00 UTC+9