Mo­tors in driv­ing seat de­spite bribery storm

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

JEON­BUK Hyundai Mo­tors hope to ride out a bribery storm and reach the AFC Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal when they take a 4-1 lead into their semi-fi­nal sec­ond leg against FC Seoul.

The K-League lead­ers were slapped with a nine-point de­duc­tion and a 100 mil­lion won (US$88,000) fine last month af­ter one of their scouts was con­victed of brib­ing ref­er­ees.

It re­called dark days for Korean foot­ball, af­ter a match-fix­ing scan­dal in 2011 ended with a se­ries of jail terms, bans and fines, and one player’s al­leged sui­cide.

But Jeon­buk will be con­fi­dent of reach­ing their third Asian fi­nal af­ter scor­ers Leonardo, Ri­cardo Lopes and Kim Shin-Wook com­bined to dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect in the first leg.

The win­ners of to­mor­row’s all-Korean clash will play UAE’s Al Ain or Qatari out­fit El Jaish, who will try to over­turn a 3-1 deficit in their sec­ond leg on Oc­to­ber 24 in Doha.

“Our play­ers have been im­pres­sive all sea­son and I will con­tinue to have faith in them,” said Jeon­buk coach Choi Kang-Hee, ac­cord­ing to the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion (AFC) web­site. “We have con­fi­dence for the sec­ond leg.”

Jeon­buk won the ti­tle in 2006 and they have hit form in this year’s lat­ter stages, smash­ing five past Shang­hai SIPG to reach the semis be­fore their four-goal spree against Seoul.

It leaves Seoul dan­ger­man Adri­ano tee­ter­ing on 12 goals for the com­pe­ti­tion, one away from equalling the record set by Guangzhou Ever­grande’s Muriqui in their 2013 ti­tle run.

But the Korean cap­i­tal’s club isn’t giv­ing up hope just yet, and with home ad­van­tage they will draw on mem­o­ries of some heavy wins in the group stage.

“We know that we need to score many goals to get the win,” said Seoul coach Hwang Sun-Hong. “We will have to be clin­i­cal and ag­gres­sive go­ing for­ward ... There is still foot­ball to be played in this tie.”

In Doha, play­maker Omar Abdulrahman will try to lead Al Ain into the fi­nal af­ter he was among the scor­ers in the UAE side’s 3-1 first-leg win.

The top-rated Abdulrahman has pre­vi­ously at­tracted in­ter­est from Manch­ester City, and El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi was in no doubt about the threat he poses to his side.

“Al Ain have, for me, ab­so­lutely the best player in Asia,” the French­man said, ac­cord­ing to UAE’s The Na­tional news­pa­per. “He is an un­be­liev­able player. –

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