Seongnam beat Pakhtakor 2-0 to reach final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Korean League champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma reached the final of the 2004 AFC Champions League after they beat Pakhtakor 2-0.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Korean League champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma reached the final of the 2004 AFC Champions League after they beat home side Pakhtakor 2-0 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Wednesday. After a goalless draw in the first leg in Korea, Seongnam finally ended Pakhtakor's title hopes with Kim Do-hoon and Dudu scoring a goal in either half to set up a showdown against Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia. Before Wednesday's semi-final second leg clash against Korean champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan held a formidable record of neither losing nor conceding a single goal in their last nine Asian Champions League home games. The odds looked to be stacked against Seongnam following a goalless draw in the first leg in Korea earlier this month, but it was the visitors who made a brighter start to the match. An intelligent exchange of passes led to Denis Laktionov beating Pakhtakor's offside trap in the 13th minute, but he hit his half-volley straight at goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov. The Russian striker had a second chance to open the scoring when the ball rebounded back to him, but Nesterov made a fine diving save before gathering the ball. At the other end of the pitch, Leonid Keshelev found space inside the visitor's penalty area in the 17th minute, but a well timed tackle would clear the danger. Seongnam were enjoying midfield supremacy and they took a deserved lead in the 37th minute. Pakhtakor's offside trap was sprung once again by a long ball from the back and Kim Do-hoon composed himself before rifling past Nesterov. It was a fine effort from the veteran striker, who scored his 100th goal in the K-League just last week. Seongnam booked their place in the Asian Champions League final with a second goal in the 56th minute. Brazilian striker Dudu went on a rampaging run from the halfway line, moved the ball on to his left foot and fired in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards out. Pakhtakor's hopes of salvaging something from the tie suffered a further blow in the closing stages. Kim Do-hoon sprinted past the home side's struggling defence only for a crude challenge from Bakhtiyor Ashurmatov to end his run on goal. Ashurmatov received a red card and Pakhtakor played the remaining ten minutes with only ten men on the pitch. Seongnam held on to their lead and won the semi-final 2-0 on aggregate. The Koreans will now take on Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad in the final, which will be played over two legs on November 24th and December 1st. (AP)

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