Jeonbuk, Cerezo to meet again in ACL quarterfinals

Former champion Jeonbuk Motors will meet Cerezo Osaka in an

Asian Champions League quarterfinal rematch between the two

qualifiers from Group G.

South Korea’s Jeonbok, the 2006 continental champions, and

Japan’s Cerezo had a win apiece in their home-and-away series in

the group stage and were drawn to meet again when the quarterfinal

pairings were decided at Asian Football Confederation headquarters

here Tuesday.

In other two-leg quarterfinals set for September: two-time Asian

Champions League winners Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia will meet

K-League team FC Seoul; South Korean powerhouse Suwon Samsung

Bluewings face 2010 finalists Zob Ahan of Iran; and Sepahan, the

Iran club which lost the 2007 final, will meet Al Sadd of

Qatar.

Cerezo was an unexpected qualifier for the last eight, advancing

with a second-round upset win over crosstown and J-League rival

Gamba Osaka.

”We were also surprised! We are a young team with an average

age of 22,” Cerezo’s Akira Hasegawa told the-afc.com. ”But our

coach (Brazilian Levir Culpi) is very experienced and he knows how

to win titles.

”We have already played Jeonbuk twice in the group stage. We

won one match and lost one match. So we know our rivals quite well

… we know how to play them.”

Ittihad will host the first leg of their semifinal on Sept. 14

before traveling to Seoul for the Sept. 27 return match.

The Saudi club is one of the most powerful in Asia, having won

back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005 and losing the 2008 final to

South Korea’s Pohang Steelers.

Club spokesman Adnan Jastania said Ittihad was determined to go

one better in 2011.

”We are anxious to do something after losing to Pohang in the

final two years ago,” he said.