Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Two-time continental kings Urawa Reds thrashed Thailand’s BG Pathum United 4-0 on Monday to set up an Asian Champions League semi-final against Jeonbuk Motors.
Pathum were playing in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time, but in front of Urawa’s vociferous fans in Saitama they were never really in it.
Swedish forward David Moberg Karlsson rifled in after 32 minutes to put Japanese outfit Urawa on their way and 10 minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to Takuya Iwanami.
It was more of the same in the second half as Pathum fell apart. Yoshio Koizumi fired into the bottom corner and Takahiro Akimoto hit a fourth with a powerful effort into the top corner.
Like Jeonbuk, Urawa are chasing a hat-trick of Asian titles, having won Asia’s top club competition in 2007 and 2017.
The two clash on Thursday in another one-legged affair in Saitama.
In the earlier quarter-final, again in Saitama, Jeonbuk roared back to score twice in extra time in a 3-1 win over Vissel Kobe.
Brazilian substitute Gustavo headed home in the 104th minute to put the South Koreans ahead and Moon Seon-min put gloss on the scoreline at the death as Kobe searched for an equaliser.
Kobe were missing Spanish legend Andres Iniesta and made seven changes to the side that stunned fellow Japanese outfit Yokohama F Marinos last week in the last 16.
But the J-League strugglers were the better side against Jeonbuk of the K-League in the first half in front of a smattering of fans.
Kobe took the lead in the 64th minute when substitute midfielder Koya Yuruki turned the ball in from close range when Jeonbuk goalkeeper Lee Bum-soo fumbled.
Kobe’s lead lasted just two minutes. Jeonbuk’s Gambian forward Mo Barrow raced up the other end and slotted the ball between the legs of advancing goalkeeper Daiya Maekawa after the Kobe defence went missing.
The Korean side, continental champions in 2006 and 2016, were now making the more clear-cut chances with former Leeds and Swansea man Barrow a constant threat for Jeonbuk.
Barrow provided the cross in extra time for striker Gustavo to climb highest at the back post and ram in to make it 2-1, before Moon made sure of the win in the 122nd minute.
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