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We must take our chances, says Sugimoto


Ulsan: Urawa Red Diamonds striker Kenyu Sugimoto admitted the joy of his first ever AFC Champions League goal in the Round of 16 first leg last week would mean nothing if the two-time champions fail to defeat Ulsan Hyundai in the return meeting on Wednesday.

Despite their dominance in the first leg meeting in Saitama, J.League side Urawa prepare to face Ulsan with a 2-1 deficit after Sugimoto's opener was cancelled out by goals from Joo Min-kyu and Hwang Il-su.

And, says the 26-year-old forward, the Japanese club simply cannot afford to again be so wasteful in front of goal at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium.

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"We had opportunities to score two or even three goals in the home leg against Ulsan but we didn't take our chances," said Sugimoto.

"It meant that my goal, while personally pleasing, didn't mean anything. The goal didn't lead to victory.

"Instead, our opponent responded very quickly in the match with a fast equaliser, before getting the winner in the second half."

Round of 16 1st Leg: Urawa Red Diamonds v Ulsan Hyundai FC

"We have had to reflect on all that happened, but also now switched our focus onto the second leg."

Last week's result aside, Urawa traditionally have a strong home record in the AFC Champions League so the defeat to Ulsan at Saitama Stadium is a blow.

Indeed, The Reds have only ever won one of their 10 away games in the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League – that was in their first ever such game against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2007.

Sugimoto is well aware of the size of the task that now faces his side.

"At Saitama, we had lots of supporters come out to cheer for us, so we had the home advantage," he said. "But now, of course, we are the away side and we won't have the same atmosphere.

"We will have the help of our travelling support and hopefully we can become one with them and get to the next stage. We have only one option: win the match."

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