Seoul (AFP) – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ bid for a second AFC Champions League title faces a major threat this week when they come up against free-scoring domestic rivals FC Seoul and their record-seeking striker, Adriano.
The Motors tore apart Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG 5-0 in the second leg of their quarter-final as they purred towards a second Asian title after lifting the trophy in 2006.
The green-clad South Korean side are the unbeaten runaway K-League leaders by 14 points and they have impeccable pedigree in the Champions League, contesting two finals and only once failing to reach the knock-out stages.
But they will be wary of FC Seoul, whose Brazilian marksman Adriano is the tournament’s top-scorer with 12 goals — one away from equalling the single-season record of 13.
Adriano smashed four past Buriram United and got a hat-trick against Sanfrecce Hiroshima as he lit up the group stages to put the 2013 record set by Guangzhou Evergrande’s Muriqui under threat.
He has been used sparingly by coach Hwang Sun-Hong in the competition’s later stages but he is a dangerous impact sub, as shown when he scored off the bench in the first leg of the quarter-final against Shandong Luneng.
Before Jeonbuk host Seoul in the first leg on Wednesday, 2003 champions Al Ain contest Tuesday’s West Asian clash at home against surprise contenders El Jaish.
Qatar’s El Jaish lost the first leg of their quarter-final 3-0 to Al Nasr, but the result was reversed when the UAE side was found to have fielded an ineligible player.
A 1-0 win in the second leg was enough to take El Jaish through to their first ever semi-final in the Asian club competition.
UAE’s Al Ain historically have the better record, winning the Champions League in 2003 and losing in the final two years later, but El Jaish beat them twice in the pool stages this year to finish top of Group D.
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