2019 Final – 2nd Leg: What They Said
Kuala Lumpur: The 2019 AFC Champions League has concluded with Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal crowned the Continent's club kings after a 3-0 aggregate win over Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan on Sunday.
The showpiece event took place at Urawa's Saitama Stadium in Saitama Prefecture on the outskirts of Tokyo. The-AFC.com was on the ground to get all the exclusive reaction from those involved.
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“I can’t describe the last 15 minutes. I was living in this period with all this strong belief, but in the moment when we scored (the second goal) I felt nothing could change the situation and I was very happy.”
Al Hilal coach Razvan Lucescu admits it was a nerve-wracking final quarter of an hour before Bafetimbi Gomis put the tie beyond doubt in injury time.
"Guys, I love you - thank you so much! We win! Now, it's not just a dream - it's come true! Al Hilal, I love you!"
Bafetimbi Gomis, named MVP and Top Scorer, shared his joy with the Al Hilal fans after the full-time whistle.
Urawa defender Tomoaki Makino admitted Al Hilal were worthy champions and just too much for the J.League side to handle.
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ACL準優勝。 優勝したかった。勝ちたかった。 俺たちは、出来る最大限の準備をして、 試合にのぞんだ。 全員闘い、走った。それでも勝てなかった。 この大会に浦和レッズが懸けてきた気持ち、 試合の中で見えた課題や成果。 そのたくさんの財産を今後に繋げていかなくてはならない。またアジアの頂点になる為に。 そしてファン・サポーターの皆さん 試合前日から、バスでスタジアムに入る時、 試合前のコレオグラフィー、そして試合中の僕たちへの後押し。 全てにおいて僕たちの力になりました。 感謝の気持ちでいっぱいです。試合には負けたけど胸を張ってアジアNo. 1のサポーターだと僕は思っています。 またみんなで、 この舞台に帰って来て 暴れよう！！！ よろしくお願いします。 #asiachampionsleague #acl #urawareds #alhilal #makino #槙野智章
Urawa coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki admitted there are some lessons to be learned from the defeat in the 2019 AFC Champions League final.
"The opponent had a lot of players from the Saudi Arabia national team, so that’s something to measure myself against. I feel like there are a lot of things I’m still lacking if I want to compete at the highest level, and I have to fine-tune in many areas in order to improve."
Young Urawa star Daiki Hashioka, 20, hopes to use the final heartbreak as motivation to take his game to the next level.
"My feelings are indescribable. I will not forget the support of the Al Hilal fans for me and my teammates. Their support for us through the good and bad times means that my goal tonight and the AFC Champions League trophy title is the least we can offer them!"
Scorer of the opener at Saitama Stadium, Salem Al Dawsari dedicated the victory and championship to the Al Hilal supporters who had suffered through two final defeats in 2014 and 2017.
“The FIFA Club World Cup will be a terrific experience. It will be difficult but we will play hard in all our games, I can guarantee you that. I can’t wait to play against (Liverpool defender Virgil) van Dijk!”
Al Hilal defender Jang Hyun-soo already has his eyes on the next challenge and the FIFA Club World Cup. Could a possible date with UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool FC await?
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