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Oct 22, 2008

Gamba stun Reds to book Asian final with Adelaide

SAITAMA, Japan, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Gamba Osaka stunned defending champions Urawa Reds 3-1 away to reach their first Asian Champions League final on Wednesday.

They will face Adelaide United in next month's final after the Australian side overcame Uzbekistan's Bunyodkur in the other semi-final.

Visiting Gamba hit back from a goal down in Saitama to win their all-Japanese tie 4-2 on aggregate after second-half strikes from Satoshi Yamaguchi, Tomokazu Myojin and Yasuhito Endo.

"The players deserve immense credit for the spirit they showed tonight," Gamba coach Akira Nishino told reporters. "We kept attacking and we wore them down. We wanted it more."

A crowd of 53,000 expected Urawa to kill the game off after Japan striker Naohiro Takahara blasted the Reds in front after 36 minutes.

Yamaguchi headed the equaliser six minutes after the interval before Myojin and Endo added close-range goals to leave Urawa's title defence in tatters.

"It's a huge disappointment," said Urawa's German coach Gert Engels. "We played a great first half and if we had still been in front 10 minutes into the second half, the momentum would have stayed with us."

Adelaide advanced to next month's two-legged final after completing a 3-1 aggregate victory over Bunyodkur in Tashkent.

A Bahodir Pardaev goal gave the home side a glimmer of hope but Adelaide held on to become Australia's first Asian Champions League finalists.

The final takes place on Nov. 5 and 12 with the winners qualifying for December's FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

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