Will Ulsan Hyundai or Pohang Steelers march on into AFC Champions League final?

Defending champions Ulsan Hyundai remain in with a chance of retaining their AFC Champions League crown after advancing to the semifinals on Sunday with a 3-2 extra-time win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Victor Fraile / Power Sport Images for The AFC

The AFC Champions League 2021 final will definitely deliver a South Korea-Saudi Arabia final, after two teams from both countries advanced into the last four over the weekend.

The first semifinal on Tuesday saw 2019 winners Al Hilal march on into November's decider, following a hard-fought 2-1 win over compatriots Al Nassr.

- Al Hilal ride luck to move one win away from record fourth ACL crown

But will it be last year's title-winning team Ulsan Hyundai or three-time champions Pohang Steelers that goes on to represent South Korea in the final?

Ahead of Wednesday's second semifinal at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, we take a look at the lessons learnt about either team from the weekend and how it bodes for their prospects.

Pohang thriving on status as underdogs

It seems peculiar to suggest Pohang Steelers are underdogs in the tournament, given they are the joint-record title holders in the ACL with three previous successes.

The truth of the matter is that the current Steelers are a far cry from the glorious championship sides of yesteryear, having not reached this stage of the competition since 2009.

They do however look to be enjoying being the underdogs and playing without any unnecessary pressure. In Sin Jin-ho, they boast last year's title-winning captain pulling the strings in the middle of the park while Lim Sang-hyub has been an influential figure with four goals to his name so far.

As they proved in Sunday's 3-0 win over Nagoya Grampus, opponents should underestimate them at their own peril.

Will tough test against Jeonbuk benefit or hinder Ulsan?

While the other three semifinalists were all largely dominant in their respective last-eight encounters, Ulsan Hyundai were given a proper test against fellow South Korean giants Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors -- requiring extra-time to grind out a 3-2 victory.

The football on offer at Jeonju World Cup Stadium was of the highest quality with the fans present treated to some world-class goals, none arguably better than Lee Dong-gyeong's 101st-minute piledriver that ultimately decided the contest.

As tournaments reach the business end, teams can usually benefit from having survived a tough test and heading into the next tie battle-hardened.

But considering they are only just returning to action following the international break, and with just a two-day break after a 120-minute duel, could the exertions against Jeonbuk come back to haunt Ulsan?