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AFC Champions League 2011

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#1   T.A

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:33 PM

Mouth-watering matches on the ACL agenda



Kuala Lumpur: The draw for the 2011 AFC Champions League took place on Thursday with Asia’s premier club competition once again serving up an intriguing blend of matches that brings together familiar foes, continental giants and ambitious newcomers.



Last year’s runners-up Zob Ahan have been grouped with Qatar’s Al Rayyan, last year’s semi-finalists Al Shabab and first-time qualifiers Emirates in Group D, while two-time champions Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia are in Group C alongside Iran’s Piroozi, Uzbek powerhouse Bunyodkor and an Al Wahda side that will outline their ACL credentials when they take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi later this month.

Every draw for every tournament can claim a “group of death” and for the 2011 AFC Champions League it is undoubtedly Group A, which brings together Saudi giants Al Hilal, who reached the last four of the 2010 competition, 2007 ACL finalists Sepahan, Qatar’s Al Gharafa and Al Jazira of the UAE.

Al Hilal, Sepahan and Al Gharafa won their respective league titles while Al Jazira finished runners-up to Al Wahda in the UAE Premier League.

Group B completes the West Asia side of the draw and sees AFC Champions League ever-presents Pakhtakor pooled with Iran’s Esteghlal, ACL debutants Al Nassr from Saudi Arabia and the winner of the West Zone play-off which will be determined on February 19.

With the honour of competing in Asia’s premier club competition having to be earned with a successful domestic campaign Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, 3-1 conquerors of Zob Ahan in the 2010 final in Tokyo miss the chance to defend their crown after losing to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the second round of the K-League play-offs.

The Motors, one of 16 teams returning to the competition from last year, claimed third place in the K-League to qualify to the ACL for a fifth time and Tuesday’s draw saw the 2006 continental champions in Group G, with newcomers Cerezo Osaka, Indonesian champions and Shandon Luneng for company.

Korean champions FC Seoul, making their second appearance in the ACL after reaching the quarter-finals in 2009, have also been pooled with tournament newcomers in the shape of Hangzhou Greentown while Japan champions Nagoya Grampus and the winners of February 19’s play-off between inaugural AFC Champions League winners Al Ain and either Muangthong United and Sriwijaya make up Group F.

Korea’s third representatives in the competition Jeju United are also ACL debutants and their first continental campaign brings them up against 2008 champions Gamba Osaka, China’s Tinajin Teda and Melbourne Victory in Group E while Victory’s A-League nemesis Sydney FC is in a tough-looking Group H, where the 2009/10 double-winners will face Korea FA Cup champions Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Shanghai Shenhua of China and either the winner of the Emperor’s Cup or Kashima Antlers, who will take part if Japan’s knockout competition winner has already qualified for the ACL.



West Asia

Group A
1 Al Hilal (KSA)
2 Al Gharafa (QAT)
3 Al Jazira (UAE)
4 Sepahan (IRN)

Group B
1 Esteghlal (IRN)
2 Al Nassr (KSA)
3 Pakhtakor (UZB)
4 Winner of West Play-off

Group C
1 Al Wahda (UAE)
2 Piroozi (IRN)
3 Al Ittihad (KSA)
4 Bunyodkor (UZB)

Group D
1 Al Rayyan (QAT)
2 Emirates (UAE)
3 Zob Ahan (IRN)
4 Al Shabab (KSA)

East Asia

Group E
1 Jeju United (KOR)
2 Melbourne Victory (AUS)
3 Gamba Osaka (JPN)
4 Tianjin Teda (CHN)

Group F
1 Hangzhou Greentown (CHN)
2 FC Seoul (KOR)
3 Winner of East Play-off
4 Nagoya Grampus (JPN)

Group G
1 Cerezo Osaka (JPN)
2 Shandong Luneng (CHN)
3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR)
4 Arema FC (INA)

Group H
1 Sydney FC (AUS)
2 Winner of Emperor’s Cup or Kashima Antlers (JPN)
3 Shanghai Shenhua (CHN)
4 Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR)

- Group schedule here

- Playoff schedule here

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#2   Alex Miguel

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 08:22 PM

Just what Sydney needed, a tough group. I thought the season couldn't get any worse but it looks like it may. Hopefully we get some big players and end up turning it around or else we are set to finish at the bottom of the group.

#3   Alex Miguel

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 09:50 AM

Sydney v Suwon: 0-0 HT
The half was an even contest with both sides struggling to really do anything with the ball. Sydney has probably had more of the ball but have struggled to break through the Suwon defense. As a result, Suwon have been able to carve out some decent chances on the counter.

Sydney's captain was harshly sent off when he accidentally stepped on one of Suwon's players. Despite being a man down, Sydney have actually been more dangerous since their captain was sent off. Nicky Carle has been particularly impressive but the club will probably be looking for a point since they are a man down.


#4   Alex Miguel

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 10:59 AM

Sydney v Suwon: 0-0 FT
Despite Suwon having most of the possession in the second half, Sydney managed to hold on for the draw despite being a man down. Both teams looked solid throughout the park apart from having a killer instinct. Both teams didn't really create many chances which could have sealed the game either way.


#5   Kei

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 04:50 AM

Asian Champions League soccer in Japan called off

TOKYO (AP) — Asian Champions League soccer games in Japan have been called off following the massive earthquake and tsunami.

Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed Bin Hammam extended his condolences to the people of Japan on Saturday in announcing the suspensions.

Nagoya Grampus was to play United Arab Emirates' club Al Ain on Tuesday, and Kashima Antlers were to host Australia's Sydney FC on Wednesday. Japan soccer authorities already had suspended all 19 J-League first and second division weekend games.


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#6   II Capitano

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 07:06 PM

The team I kind of support, Al Jazira, lost 4-1 to Sepahan today. What a disappointing display. Khalid Sabeel, Subait Khater, Diaky and Saleh Obaid were all poor. It was a poor, overall, display - and for me, that isn't good enough. Al Jazira have been so consistent in the league, but every single season - when they're in the AFC Champions League - they bottle it. The players don't give it their all and I feel, that Braga needs to take some of the blame.

Certainly, all game, the team was wide open - left exposed at the back. Khalid Sabeel kept given the ball away cheaply, and was rightly substituted off. He, sometimes, tries a little bit too much from the back, leaving the defence exposed. Subait Khater was the poorest player on the pitch for Al Jazira. Tried way too many "Hollywood" passes for my liking. He, also, kept given the ball away far too cheaply... It's becoming a bad habit.. Diaky, Diaky, Diaky... We need to find a new name for you, tonight, because he was no where near his best. Failed to track back, and looked frustrated for the majority of the game. I was largely disappointed with his attitude. And, lastly, Saleh Obaid, who was a replacement for the injured Abdalha Musa, didn't have the best of games. That is a surprise, considering the vast amount of experience he has. Out of all the players, though, I have to say that he's probably the least to blame because not one player was adding protection in front of him, which was one of the main reasons Sepahan won today.

Braga has to take the blame for leaving the team open. Obviously, the players are the ones that go onto the pitch and control the areas but the tactics that were employed, away from home as well, were the usual Braga-esque AFC Champions League AWAY FROM HOME tactics, where the team is so open that any team in the competition scores a lot of goals against al Jazira. A 4-1-2-1-2 - or should I say a 4-1-3-2 - isn't the right way to to play. It's laughable how many times Sepahan managed to attack down both wings - especially, the right hand side.

I'm disappointed by the final outcome, but Al Jazira still have a point. And, the good thing is that it's only the second game. It's a taster of what to expect. However, it still leaves me thinking as to whether Braga will remain as manager (Albeit all the odds pointing out that he will win the league) because of his inconsistency in the AFC Champions League. If I was a wealthy owner, I'd rather we gained more recognition by winning this competition...

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#7   Alex Miguel

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 01:22 AM

Extended Highlights:


#8   Alex Miguel

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:16 AM

I'll be watching Sydney vs Kashima tonight so I'll post my thoughts tomorrow morning. GO SYDNEY!

#9   Alex Miguel

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 03:06 PM

Sydney vs Kashima Aftermath
The stage was set for a difficult match for Sydney FC as three of its key players in Carle, Ryall and Williams were going to miss through injury. Despite controlling the ball and passing it around neatly in the first half, Sydney never really created any threatening chances. Tiki-Taka football seems to be the flavour of the month after Brisbane won the A-league playing just that but Sydney FC's attempts were embarrassing to say the least.

The way Sydney FC played the game was as if they were playing a friendly, moving the ball side to side and never trying to penetrate their opponents. Playing their last home game of the ACL and with only 2 points, Sydney needed to be taking the game to the opposition but instead preferred to keep the ball. There was no penetrating runs at the defense or movement for the strikers in order for a midfielder to attempt a through ball. It seemed like the strikers didn't have the confidence in their midfielders ability to put in a through ball.

Kashima started getting into the game after their first goal. Once the game was more even in terms of possession, the balance of the game tipped as Kashima began to effectively use the ball in the final third. Their game plan wasn't to pass the ball from side to side but actually penetrate the Sydney defense and that's exactly what they ended up doing. The first goal game from Takuya through ball to Koroki who turned his defender well to shoot before Nozawa eventually scored the rebound. The important part of this goal was Nozawa's run after a penetrating through ball - something Sydney couldn't do all game.

The second for Kashima was made to look easy after the Sydney defense allowed Nozawa too much space on the wing to give a perfect cross the Brazilian Fellype. Questions have to be asked of what Jurman was doing standing in the centre of the box marking no one. He should have either gone for Nozawa much earlier or marked a man deep in the box. Take a closer look and you'll see 3 Kashima players outnumbering 2 Sydney defenders where the ball was crossed to. The final goal proved that Koroki had confidence in his midfielders after making a beautiful run behind the defense to put the sword into Sydney's ACL campaign.

Questions have to be asked of Lavicka - even in the first season, his player selections were questionable with players McFlynn, Grant and Kisel every on in the season getting starts over a technically superior Gan. In the past A-league season he has shown his lack of ability to change and if he wants Sydney to have a killer instinct at the front, create some strategies and plays at training. We still haven't seen anything of the sort. Ange has spoilt the A-league and it may be time for Lavicka to be let go to find our very own Ange.


#10   Mignon

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 03:32 PM

Can't write like you, but.. :rolleyes:

Watched a match between Kashima and Suwon. Yeom Ki-hun's free kick was great. They could hold 3 pts in their hand, but unlucky. Fair result IMO.

I didn't watch a match between Seoul and Nagoya, which is ended as 0-2. Apparently, Seoul was terrible. Seoul fired the manager who won the K-League championship last year and brought Hwang Bo-kwan and the tragedy has begun. Now, every fans want Hwang quit his job himself. Good work, Seoul. You deserved it.

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#11   Kei

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:19 PM

Mamadou Niang's second goal for Al Sadd against Suwon



Which led to......



:facepalm: :facepalm:

In fairness though, Suwon don't really have any grounds for a complaint here. If they let the ball roll out of play immediately after the injury, then they would have, but they continued their attack after the players had gone down, and it's hard to make the argument that they simply let the ball go out of play after the fact. It's still a sucker-punch goal by Al Sadd (kinda like Mayweather vs Ortiz, for anyone who follows boxing), but they were well within their rights to do that imo.

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#12   Alex Miguel

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:25 PM

The fight started because a fan ran onto the pitch and attacked the Al Sadd goalkeeper after they had scored.

#13   Kei

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:56 PM

The fight started because a fan ran onto the pitch and attacked the Al Sadd goalkeeper after they had scored.

Is that what happened? There were a few shoving matches immediately after the goal, but things looked to be calming down before the players started going after each other again.

No way that fan gets off with anything less than a lifetime ban.

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#14   Alex Miguel

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:24 PM

I read an article about it which stated that the goalkeeper was attacked by a fan which started it all. It was right after that goal so anything small would have triggered it.

#15   Diablotelli.

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 12:20 AM

Can't blame Al Sadd, for god sakes Suwon just kept the attack going even AFTER their player has already been on the ground. And Al Sadd just took advantage. But WOW! Al Sadd are really close to going to the final, that's huge for Qatar football. Niang was brilliant signing imo, that was a stupid move by him at the end for getting the double booking, big blow for the return match.