Al Ittihad reaches ACL semifinals

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GUANGZHOU, China (AP) -Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad reached the Asian Champions League semifinals on Tuesday, advancing 5-4 on aggregate after a 2-1 loss to China's Guangzhou Evergrande.

Al Ittihad, which beat Guangzhou 4-2 in the first leg of the quarterfinals at Jeddah two weeks ago, secured a semifinal berth thanks to a 78th-minute strike by Fahad Al Muwallad.

Lucas Barrios opened for Guangzhou in the 19th minute and Dario Leonardo Conca doubled the advantage in the 35th on a penalty kick.

Guangzhou hired Marcello Lippi, who took Italy to the 2006 World Cup title and Juventus to Champions League victory a decade earlier, in May with the goal of becoming the first Chinese team to win the Asian title since 1989.

Guangzhou has outlaid plenty of money recruiting talent in an attempt to end that barren run.

Al Ittihad is the most successful side in the competition's history with back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005, and has set its sights on a third regional crown.

Al Ittihad will face either Iranian champion Sepahan or Saudi league runner-up Al Ahli in the semifinals. Those teams met later Tuesday in Jeddah.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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