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Discussion Starter #1
KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabian giants Al Ittihad will be up against tough Syrian opposition as they go for a treble in the AFC Champions League after the two-time champions were slotted against surprise package of the tournament Al Karameh in the knockout stage draw held on Friday here at the AFC House.


Al Ittihad gained automatic entry into the last eight of the continent’s premier club tournament after a 5-3 aggregate win over the UAE’s Al Ain in last year’s final.

They will be looking to make home advantage count when they take on Al Karameh, who are also the Syrian League champions, in Jeddah on September 13. The return match is scheduled for September 20.


“I don’t think our road to the semifinals will be easy,” said Al Ittihad manager Hamad Al Sanae’a after the draw. “All the teams are strong otherwise they wouldn’t have made it to the quarterfinals.”

“But I hope the final will be between two West Asian teams like last year.”


For the President of Al Karameh, Nasouh Al Barodi, the match-up against Al Ittihad was a cause for concern. “It will be very tough for us as they are the two-time defending champions,” said Al Barodi. “I wish we could have met another club in the quarterfinal.”


The format of the draw keeps clubs from the same country separated in the quarterfinals and the other Saudi Arabian team which has qualified for the last eight, Al Shabab, were paired against Ulsan Hyundai of Korea Republic.


Al Shabab, who won the Saudi League title recently, play away to Ulsan, who didn’t concede a single goal against Tokyo Verdy in their Group F campaign.


Last year’s losing finalists and 2003 champions Al Ain, who will be appearing in the knockout stage for the third straight time, were pitted against Kuwaiti powerhouse Al Qadsiya.


Al Ain, who topped Group B, will play the first match away in Kuwait City against Al Qadsiya, who finished on top of Group A.


“Our match against Al Ain will be very difficult as they have qualified for all the knockout stages so far,” said Al Qadsiya manager Sami Abu Yabes. “They are going through a rough patch but one can expect them to bounce back.”

“But our chances are equal,” added the Al Qadsiya official.


His counterpart Essam Abdullah Al Ali said Al Ain’s vast experience would prove to be decisive. “Our experience in this tournament should stand us in good stead. I think all our fans are waiting for us to reach the final. This is a good chance for us to redeem ourselves for last year’s defeat to Al Ittihad.”


Jeonbuk Motors, winners of Group E, set up an all-East clash with Shanghai Shenhua of China in the second quarterfinal.


The two-legged semifinals will be played on September 27 and October 18 and if Al Ittihad see off Al Karameh’s challenge they meet the winner of the Al Qadsiya-Al Ain match in the last four at home, leaving open the possibility of a repeat of last year’s final.


The winner of the Shanghai Shenhua-Jeonbuk game goes up against either Ulsan or Al Shabab for a place in the final which takes place on November 1 and 8.


Quarterfinals

Al Ittihad (KSA) vs Al Karameh (Syr)

Shanghai Shenhua (Chn) vs Jeonbuk (Kor)

Al Qadsiya (Kuw) vs Al Ain (UAE)

Ulsan (Kor) vs Al Shabab (KSA)


Quarterfinals

First leg – 13 September

Second leg – 20 September


Semifinals

First leg – 27 September

Second leg – 18 October


Final

First leg – 1 November

Second leg – 8 November
 

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Discussion Starter #2
JEDDAH: Former Paris St. Germain trainer Frenchman Vahid Halilhodzic will lead Saudi Arabian giants Al Ittihad in their quest for a third consecutive AFC Champions League title.

The 56-year-old Frenchman signed a one-year deal with Al Ittihad president Mansour Al Balawi in Paris on Saturday, a day after the two-time defending champions were drawn to play Syrian outfit Al Karameh in the quarterfinals of Asia’s premier club competition.

The Al Ittihad job fell vacant after Frenchman Bruno Metsu quit after a short two-month stay towards the fag-end of the Saudi League. Metsu himself had taken over from the sacked Romanian veteran Anghel Iordanescu in mid-March.

Halilhodzic joined PSG from Rennes in June 2003 and in his first season led the club to second place in the league, the Coupe de France (French Cup) title and European Champions League qualification.

He quit PSG after problems between him and the players surfaced and went to Turkey where he coached Trabzonspor for a short stint before returning to France.

An ex-player, Halilhodzic starred for Bosnian club Velez Mostar (1990-1992) before moving to France at the outbreak of the Bosnian war.

He played as a striker for Nantes and was the top goal scorer in France in seasons 1983 and 1985.
 

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Aggressive? Or you just can't handle the truth. Perhaps Chinese football will get better if they try to be a little bit aggressive with their program. They are behind their neighbors such as Korea and Japan. In fact, they haven't beaten Korea in 20 years. That's pretty pathetic. I don't think there is a country gets dominated by another country for this long in football. :yuck:
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
everyone knows that china hasn't beaten korea for 20 years
everyone knows that china gets dominated by korea for long in football.

so does your article make any sense or any constructive ideas?
you just say china will lose, lose, lose.....

If you just look down upon chinese football, you can choose a better way or just avoid repeating such well know truth.
 

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It's not that I look down on Chinese football. it's they look down on themselves. Otherwise, they wouldn't have let a country dominates them for this long. To a point, I guess they are used to losing.
 
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