The AFC Champions League 2018 semifinals are done. We have our finalists. Here is a look at what transpired this week:
Persepolis FC 1-1 Al Sadd SC (Aggr: 2-1) (Nemati 49' - Bounedjah 17')
Iran's Persepolis reached their first ever AFC Champions League final after a 1-1 draw in the semifinal second leg against Al Sadd SC. The result secured them a 2-1 aggregate win after the first leg had finished 1-0 in favour of the Iranians.
As expected, Al Sadd were on the attack from the outset while Persepolis held their own pretty well. However, Al Sadd broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when the Persepolis defence did not deal with a loose ball, allowing Baghdad Bounedjah to slot home.
Persepolis responded with urgency but had to wait until the 49th minute to equalise on the night. Siamac Nemati volleyed in a cross from Godwin Mensha to put Persepolis in front in the tie. They would go on to maintain their lead and clinch a spot in the final.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings 3-3 Kashima Antlers (Aggr: 5-6) (Sang-Hyeob 52' Sung-Jin 53' Damjanovic 60' - Yamamoto 25' Nishi 64' Serginho 82')
Serginho's dramatic late strike handed Japan's Kashima Antlers a 6-5 aggregate win over Suwon Bluewings in the AFC Champions League semifinals. The second leg finished 3-3 but a 3-2 win in the first leg at home meant Kashima reached their first-ever final.
Shuto Yamamoto opened the scoring for the away side in the 25th minute, heading home another fine Serginho delivery which gave them some breathing space. But Suwon hit back in stunning fashion in the second half, scoring three goals in a span of eight minutes. Im Sang-Hyeob tucked home from close-range in the 52nd before Jo Sung-Jin converted a header. Dejan Damjanovic broke in behind the Kashima defence to make it 3-1 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.
But the match would take another turn as Kashima pulled a goal back in the 64th minute when Nishi scored a peach of a goal with the outside of his foot. Serginho would then seal the result for the Japanese team in the 84th minute as he lashed home a loose ball in the area after Suwon failed to properly clear a Nishi throw-in.