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Korean club Jeonbuk reaches final of AFC Champions League football

JEONJU (Yonhap News) -- South Korean football club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Wednesday advanced to the final of Asia's top professional club competition, defeating Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad 2-1 in the second leg of the semifinal.

The win at Jeonju World Cup Stadium, some 240 kilometers south of Seoul, gave Jeonbuk the aggregate score of 5-3 in the two-leg semifinal of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League. Last week, Jeonbuk earned a hard-fought 3-2 win against Al Ittihad on the road.

Brazilian forward Eninho scored both goals for Jeonbuk, which has also clinched first place in the domestic K-League. Eninho took his first goal in the 22nd minute then added another on a corner kick that went off an opposing defender in the 36th.

Wendel, a winger from Brazil, scored the lone goal for Al Ittihad in the 72nd minute. The Saudi club played most of the match one man short. Striker Naif Ahmed Hazazi, who took two goals in the first leg, was sent off in the 12th minute after an altercation with Jeonbuk's Cho Sung-hwan following a hard foul.

Al Ittihad pressed hard early in the second half but couldn't thread the Jeonbuk defense until Wendel's late score.

Another K-League team, Suwon Samsung Bluewings, is on the opposite end of the semifinal bracket. Suwon is to take on Al Sadd of Qatar in Doha early Thursday, Korean time. Suwon lost the first leg 2-0 at home last week and must win by at least 3-1 to reach the final.

An AFC final between K-League clubs occurred in 2002, when Suwon edged Anyang LG Cheetahs, currently FC Seoul.

Jeonbuk was the AFC champion in 2006. The K-League has been the most successful circuit at the AFC Champions League with nine titles, including the last two.

Korea Herald daum