JAKARTA (Reuters) - Dejan Damjanovic’s double strike moved Suwon Bluewings to the verge of the Asian Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday as they handed twice champions Jeonbuk Motors a 3-0 defeat in the all-South Korean clash in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
Damjanovic, who joined Suwon at the start of the year from bitter rivals FC Seoul, was instrumental in securing a surprise win for his side a day after coach Seo Jung-won announced he would be standing down from his role.
Despite the turmoil behind the scenes, Suwon put on one of their best performances of the year to take a three-goal advantage into the second leg on Sept. 19.
The 37-year-old Damjanovic put Suwon in front when he applied the finishing touch to a break out of defence 15 minutes from time when Elvis Saric played the ball into his path and Damjanovic slid his effort home.
Seven minutes later he doubled his side’s lead when he was left unmarked on the edge of the area, with the Jeonbuk defence allowing him to turn and shoot into the bottom corner.
With five minutes remaining Han Eui-gwon took Suwon a step closer to the next round when he steered his header into the top corner following Saric’s cross from the right.
Qatar’s Al Duhail, meanwhile, secured a record-equalling ninth win in a row in this year’s Asian Champions League as the Doha-based side earned a narrow 1-0 win over Iran’s Persepolis.
Almoez Ali scored the only goal of the game when he rose above goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand to head in Edmilson Junior’s clipped ball from the left as Al Duhail matched Ulsan Hyundai’s achievement from the 2012 season.
“We managed to get a goal in the first half. We wanted two or three goals but fate wasn’t in our favour,” said goal scorer Ali.
“The next step for us now is to focus on our next game in the league, go to the national team camp and then return to play Persepolis again in the second leg.
“There are games coming up in which we can improve. Hopefully, we can prepare ourselves well for the second leg and turn out better than we did today.”
Al Duhail won all six of their group games earlier this year before notching up back-to-back wins over Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates in the Round of 16 and will now be confident of advancing to the last four, where they will meet either fellow Qatari side Al Sadd or Esteghlal from Iran.
Al Sadd won the first leg 3-1 in Tehran on Monday.
In the other quarter-final, Kashima Antlers will take a 2-0 lead over Tianjin Quanjian into their second leg.
Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Pritha Sarkar