|FC Seoul’s Cha Du-ri (front) and Al Ahli’s Kamil Al Mousa vie for the ball. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
FC Seoul played to a 1-1 draw on the road Wednesday against Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the first leg of their quarterfinals at the AFC Champions League.
Striker Dejan Damjanovic gave the reigning K League Classic champion the lead after 10 minutes at King Abdulaziz Sport City Stadium, but Sultan Al-Sawadi tied the score in the 80th minute to salvage a draw for the Saudi Professional League club.
The two teams will play their second leg at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sept. 18. The aggregate score will determine the winner.
Al Ahli was the runner-up at last year’s event. FC Seoul failed to advance beyond the AFC quarters in its two previous tries, but can do so either with a victory or a 0-0 draw at home next month.
Under the “away goals” rule, if the teams are tied in total score after both legs, then the one with more goals scored away from home will be declared the winner.
Four K League Classic clubs played in the group stage at this year’s AFC Champions League. Pohang Steelers and Suwon Bluewings were knocked out of the opening phase. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors joined FC Seoul in the round of 16 but were eliminated by Kashiwa Reysol of Japan. (Yonhap News) Champions League
Arsenal answered its early season critics with a 3-0 victory at Fenerbahce in the first leg of their Champions League playoff Wednesday.
Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud scored in the second half in front of a noisy crowd in Istanbul, plus hostile media and Gunners fans at home after an offseason of failed transfer deals for the cash-rich club.
Under-fire manager Arsene Wenger now looks all but certain to lead his team into the Champions League group stage for the 16th straight season after the return match next Tuesday. The winners of the playoff matches earn a spot in the lucrative 32-team group stage.
“We could have been a little bit shaky after what happened on Saturday,” said Wenger, whose team lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa in the Premier League opener. “So for us it was very important to start on the front foot. That was vital tonight for us and we did it well.” (AP)
Branislav Ivanovic’s second-half header gave Chelsea a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday, moments after he avoided a red card in a fiery second match of the Premier League season.
The right back was only booked for elbowing Christian Benteke in the head, and then sent Frank Lampard’s free kick into the net in the 73rd minute.
“This is English football, for some reason the world loves it more than any other league ― one thing is (because of) a real aggression I would call it,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.
“Another thing is duels that are handled in a certain way and I think the referee did very well.” (AP)
Brazilian recruit Neymar scored his first goal for Barcelona to secure a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after Lionel Messi left the field injured in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.
Atletico’s David Villa enjoyed the perfect start against his former club by scoring the opening goal in the 12th minute. Villa left Barcelona following the arrival of Neymar in the offseason.
Messi was replaced at halftime with a left thigh problem and Neymar went on in the 59th. Just seven minutes later, he headed in the equalizer from a pass by Dani Alves. (AP)