Saudi duo dominate Asian playoffs

Al Hilal and Al Ittihad dominate Asian Champions League knock-out stages with convincing wins to progress to last eight.

    Saudi duo dominate Asian playoffs
    A place in the quarter-finals beckons for Saudi outfit Al-Hilal after a dominant performance at UAE's Prince Faisal bin Fahad stadium in Riyadh [AFP]

    South Korean striker Yoo Byung-Soo scored a four-timer as Saudi Arabia side Al Hilal crushed Baniyas of the United Arab Emirates 7-1 in the Asian Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday.

    The rout in Riyadh at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd stadium came 12 months after Baniyas coach Gabriel Calderon had guided Al Hilal to the same stage of the competition. This time the Argentinian was on the receiving end of a drubbing that was orchestrated by Yoo who opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, the 24-year-old international hot shot following up with goals in the 38th, 52nd and 61st minutes.

    Former Bolton midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson contributed with a goal in either half with Mohammad Salem also getting in on the act near the death.

    Baniyas, who played the last minute a man down after Saleh Al Menhali was sent off, avoided a whitewash when they were awarded a 57th minute penalty converted by Francisco Yeste.

    Saudi double

    In Wednesday's other game another Saudi side, Al Ittihad, progressed with a 3-0 defeat of Iranian outfit Piroozi Athletic.

    Naif Hazazi put the hosts into a 35th minute lead from the spot with Abdelghani Faouzi doubling up on the stroke of half-time and Abdoh Autef completing the lopsided scoreline two minutes from time.

    On Tuesday former Australia skipper Lucas Neill missed a penalty in a dramatic penalty shoot-out that saw his Emirati Al-Jazira club crash out to Al-Ahli also of Saudi Arabia.

    The game had finished 3-3 after extra-time with Al-Ahli prevailing 4-2 on penalties over the side owned by billionaire Sheikh Mansour, who also owns newly crowned English champions Manchester City.

    In Tuesday's other action, Iranian champions Foolad Sepahan beat close domestic rivals Esteghlal 2-0.

    Next week's highlight comes when 2006 World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi leads out his new club, Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande, against FC Tokyo on Wednesday. The Italian, who also won the 1996 European Champions League with Juventus, was a shock replacement last week for South Korea's Lee Jang-Soo, who departed with Guangzhou top of the league and qualified for the Asian knock-out round.

    Australia's Adelaide United will bid to extend their dream run from the play-offs as they host Japan's Nagoya Grampus next Tuesday, while 2010 winners Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma play Uzbek champions Bunyodkor.

    Next week's other match is between South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai and Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: AFP


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