SEOUL (AFP) - Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Urawa Reds fought out a tight 2-2 draw in the first leg of the AFC Champions League semi-finals Wednesday, with the pride of the South Korean and Japanese champions at stake.
Seongnam, seven-time K-League champions and current leaders, will travel to Urawa for the second leg on October 24 against a side who also have the prestigious Japanese Emperor's Cup in their trophy cupboard.
Later Wednesday in the other semi-final staged in Isfahan, Iran, the 2006 Iranian Hafzi Cup winners Sepahan beat Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates 3-1.
Striker Mahmoud Karimi scored in either half to help Sepahan to their 3-1 victory against Al Wahda.
Karimi scored after 11 minutes and restored their advantage with his second just before the hour mark after Mohamed Al Shehhi had levelled early in the second half.
Sepahan's captain Moharram Navidkia added a third via the penalty spot in the closing minutes.
Al Wahda's cause was not helped when they were reduced to 10 men for almost an hour after defender Yasser Abdullah was sent off.
The second leg will be staged in Abu Dhabi on October 24.
In the first semi Mota opened the scoring for Seongnam in the 10th minute on a cross from fellow Brazilian frontman Itamar for his league-leading seventh goal.
Roared on by some 4,000 supporters from Urawa, the J-League champions and current leaders struggled hard on a soggy pitch in rain to equalise in the first half.
Urawa's Brazilian-born centre back Marcus Tulio Tanaka shot over the bar on the break in the 16th minute.
Seongnam goalkeeper Kim Yong-Dae then stopped a 30-metre blast by Tulio in the 32nd minute and Urawa's Brazilian striker Washington lobbed over the bar a minute later.
Shortly afterwards Kim Do-Heon squandered another scoring chance for the home side as he shot wide of the target in front of a static defence.
Tatsuya Tanaka headed in the equaliser for Urawa on a Ponte cross seven minutes after the break for his third goal in three league matches.
Urawa went ahead 2-1 on a penalty by Ponte in the 65th minute after Washington was felled by Kim Dong-Hun as he positioned himself to get on the end of a free-kick.
But Seongnam made it 2-2 in the 80th minute when Kim Do-Heon slammed home a rebound after Mota's shot from inside the box was parried by Urawa goalkeeper Ryota Tsuzuki.
Five minutes later, a long through ball dropped in Kim Dong-Hun's path on the break and he slid the ball into the net before it was ruled off side.
Seongnam, the runners-up in 2004, won the Asian Club championship in 1996 when they were named Cheonan Ilhwa Chunma, before the the continental club contest was renamed the AFC Champions League in 2002.
Urawa reached the semi-finals by defeating defending champions Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea 4-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.
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