The second leg of the 2017 AFC Champions League quarter-final took place on Wednesday night at Saitama Stadium, where Urawa Reds roared to a 4-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale to advance to on a 5-4 aggregate score.
After falling 1-3 in the first leg at Todoroki Stadium, Urawa were dealt a further setback when Kawasaki defender Elsinho capitalised on sloppy defending to score the opening goal for the visitors.
But a sudden change of fortune came following Shinzo Koroki’s 35th-minute goal when the Urawa striker was violently fouled by Kawasaki defender Shintaro Kurumaya, who was immediately shown the red card.
Still needing to overcome a 2-4 aggregate deficit and backed by a roaring crowd behind the home goal, Urawa began to turn the tide in the 70th minute when Zlatan headed in the team’s second goal of the match.
Rafael Silva followed up with his right foot in the 84th minute to force potential extra time, and just one minute later it was Toshiyuki Takagi who scored the 5-4 series winner with his volleyed loop over Kawasaki goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong.
The unforgettable result sees Urawa Reds advance to their first semifinal since 2007, when they won the tournament.
They will face Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG away on September 27 and at home on October 18.
The East Zone winners will face the victors of the West Zone final between Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal and Iran’s Persepolis.