Iranian giants Sepahan paid the penalty for forfeiting their Asian Champions League quarter-final first leg match as they went out of the competition despite beating Qatari side Al Sadd 2-1 in the second leg on Wednesday.
Sepahan – the 2007 finalists – had originally won the first leg 1-0 but were then penalised for fielding an ineligible player and the Qatari outfit were handed a 3-0 victory to eventually run out 4-2 winners on aggregate.
However Sepahan showed great character in shaking off that disappointment and had Al Sadd reeling after scoring twice in the first-half through Emad Mohammed and Hassan Jafari.
They couldn’t, though, put away their chances after that and the hosts sealed their place in the last four when veteran Senegalese striker Mamadou Niang scored four minutes from time.
Al Sadd – winners of the trophy just once in 1989 – will play Korean side Suwon Blue Wings in the semi-finals as they needed extra-time to progress at the expense of another Iranian team Zobahan, winning 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.
The two-time Champions League winners secured their place in the last four through a 99th minute penalty by former Croatian international defender Mato Neretljak.
On Tuesday Lee Dong-Gook scored four as South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors dismantled Japanese rivals Cerezo Osaka 6-1 to advance to the last four.
Trailing 4-3 from the first-leg, Jeonbuk dominated throughout as they dispelled last week’s crushing away loss to Cerezo with a scintillating second-half performance in Jeonju.
Before the game the Koreans’ coach Choi Kang-Hee had urged his players to banish the memory of defeat in Osaka — a game which they led three times — and his team responded with a barrage of goals to take a 9-5 aggregate victory.
They will play Saudi outfit Al-Ittihad, who lost 1-0 to Seoul FC on the night but went through 3-2 on aggregate.