AFC Champions League Preview: Seoul v Esteghlal
By Football News
Esteghlal will aim to take their first step towards a fourth AFC Champions League final when they travel to face Seoul on Wednesday.
The Iranian champions take the trip to South Korea for their semi-final first-leg clash with the knowledge that a win will keep them on track to secure their third Champions League title.
Both teams head into the contest following morale-boosting wins in the last round, with Amir Ghalenoei's Esteghlal overcoming Thai outfit Buriram United to reach the last four, progressing 3-1 on aggregate.
Strikers Farhad Majidi and Arash Borhani are sure to be among the key men for Esteghlal, having already scored three goals each so far in the competition.
Defender Khosro Heydari will also be out to continue his good form after netting in the last 16 and the quarter-finals.
Each side has lost just once so far in the tournament and Seoul are sure to approach the match with confidence after handing Al Ahli their first and only defeat in the quarter-finals.
The K-League club overcame the Saudi Arabian side 1-0 in the first leg, with a 1-1 draw in the away encounter proving enough to secure their progress.
A solid defence has been the cornerstone of Seoul's success so far; Choi Yong-Soo's men have conceded just seven goals in their 10 games and will hope to frustrate the Esteghlal attack as they aim to reach the final for only the second time in their history.
Seoul last reached the showpiece in 2002, when the club was known as Anyang Cheetahs, falling to defeat against Suwon Bluewings.
Dejan Damjanovic is the man in form for Choi's side; the Montenegrin attacker scored in both games against Al Ahli and will have designs on repeating the feat against Esteghlal.