THURSDAY 31 OCTOBER 2013:
The 2013 AFC Champions League Final will be between Kashima Antlers (Japan) and holders Al-Ahli SC (Saudi Arabia) after yesterday’s Semi-Final Second Leg ties. Kashima booked their place in their first continental final after a 3-0 home win over Al-Ain (UAE), 5-1 agg.
Al-Ahli will meet them next Saturday at the Kashima Stadium after their a fiesty 1-1 draw with Grampus Eight last night in Jeddah. Al-Ahli took the lead after just 22 seconds (a competition record) through Malik Mouath before being reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of Victor Simoes before half-time.
Grampus forced a late equaliser before losing a man of their own to ill-discipline, but the damage was done with Al-Ahli winning the away leg 4-0 a week ago.
We now have the Major League Soccer Playoff fixtures after the two conference wildcard matches were played last night, both going the way of the away side to stun the crowds at Columbus (Eastern) and San Jose (Western) who both has home advantage after finishing 4th.
The Eastern Conference Wildcard was settled with a Nick DeLeon goal for Montreal Impact on the hour to see them progress to the final four at the expense of Columbus Crew. The clubs had met here just twelve days ago where Crew ran out 2-0 winners in the Regular Season.
Over in the Western Conference Wildcard match, San Jose Earthquakes hosted FC Dallas, and the visitors were in a party-spoiling mood. Blas Pérez fired home the only goal of the match after 53 minutes to seal their post-season spot. The teams met twice over the course of the season before last night, each winning their home match 1-0.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
First Leg: Sat 2nd November
Second Leg Wed 6th November
Montreal Impact v. Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo v. New England Revolution
Sporting Kansas City, the MLS Supporters’ Shield winners, won both their Regular Season matches against Impact – 2-1 at home and 1-0 away – so will fancy their chances to set up a tie against either Dynamo or the Revs in the Eastern Conference Final. Dynamo look the favourites to meet them despite finishing below NER in the league, having beaten them 2-0 at home and 3-1 away during Regular Season.
Western Conference Playoffs
First Leg: Sun 3rd November
Second Leg: Thu 7th November
FC Dallas v. Los Angeles Galaxy
Portland Timbers v. Colorado Rapids
Western Conference winners Galaxy will look to book their place in the final by overcoming Dallas over the two legs, though it’s the Texans who have the upper-hand following the Regular Season matches that saw them play both matches at home, curiously: a 0-0 draw followed by a 3-0 win. The winners will meet either Timbers or Rapids, with the former looking more likely after winning 2-1 at Colorado earlier this season before a 1-1 draw back in Portland.
Following the 2-2 draw at Hannover, which saw them drop points for the sixth time this season in Bundesliga, Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola wrote off Dortmund’s title chances in his post-match press conference.
When asked if Dortmund could go on and win the title after going two points clear, he said, “I don’t see this being their year.”
The Dortmund camp declined to comment.