Kashima ends China interest in Asian Champs League quarters

September 18, 2018

Kashima Antlers cruised into their first Asian Champions League semifinals and ended Chinese participation by ousting Tianjin Quanjian 5-0 on aggregate on Tuesday.

Kashima, up 2-0 from the first leg, was in total control after first-half goals by Serginho and Hiroki Abe. Shoma Doi polished off the win in Macau, where the match was moved because Tianjin was hosting the World Economic Forum.

Kashima's semifinal opponent will be a South Korean team. Suwon Bluewings won the first leg at Jeonbuk Motors 3-0 and hosts its K-League rival on Wednesday.

Al Sadd of Qatar and Persepolis of Iran will contest the other semi next month. They came out of the same group, where each beat the other at home: Al Sadd 3-1, and Persepolis 1-0.

On Monday, former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez helped Al Sadd hold Esteghlal of Iran to 2-2 in their second leg in Doha. That result gave the Qatari powerhouse a 5-3 win on aggregate.

Esteghlal was leading 2-1 in Doha and within a goal of tying the aggregate score when defender Rouzbeh Cheshmi was sent off for a second yellow card. Al Sadd nerves weren't calmed until a late penalty goal by Baghdad Bounedjah.

"When you play against a team with 10 men, it doesn't always mean that they are weak," Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira said.

Persepolis bounced back from a 1-0 loss against Al Duhail of Qatar to take the second leg in Tehran 3-1.

Al Duhail took the lead in the first half in front of more than 70,000 fans in Tehran, but Persepolis scored three second-half goals through Jalal Hosseini, an Sultan Al-Brake own goal, and Godwin Mensha to reach the semifinals for a second straight year.