AFC Champions League: Bunyodkor 1 Ulsan 3
By Football News
Ulsan are on the verge of reaching the AFC Champions League final after they beat Bunyodkor 3-1 in their semi-final encounter on Wednesday.
Goals from Rafinha, Kim Shin-Wook and Lee Keun-Ho guided Ulsan to a comprehensive first-leg victory in Uzbekistan and put the K-League outfit in full control of their final-four tie.
Bunyodkor, who claimed a dramatic extra-time win over Adelaide United in the quarter-finals, were handed a dream start inside the opening five minutes when midfielder Jovlon Ibrokhimov found the back of the net with a well-directed shot.
The hosts came close to doubling their advantage through Kamoliddin Murzoev but the striker's header lacked power and precision.
Bundyodkor were made to pay for their inability in front of goal with Brazilian striker Rafinha levelling the match after 31 minutes.
Rafinha, who netted three goals during Ulsan's quarter-final clash against Al Hilal, found the back of the net from the edge of the area.
Kim Ho-Gon's side went into the break level and only had to wait eight minutes before they hit the front.
A Kim Seung-Yong corner found the head of Shin-Wook, who made no mistake from the front post, leaving goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov with no chance.
The visitors put the result beyond doubt and one foot in the final with a Keun-Ho header 18 minutes from time.
Budyonkor had opportunities to reduce the deficit, including a penalty just four minutes later but Uzbek international Jasur Hasanov could only direct his effort into the post.
The second leg is scheduled for October 31 at Munsu Cup Stadium in Ulsan.