Saitama: Urawa Red Diamonds defender Tomoaki Makino has admitted that the 1-0 loss to Al Hilal in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League final was a good result for the Japanese side after they had to withstand intense pressure in Riyadh.
In a repeat of the 2017 final which Urawa won 2-1 on aggregate after drawing the first leg 1-1 in the Saudi capital, it was Al Hilal who controlled the vast majority of the game, recording 22 shots to the J.League club’s two.
But Al Hilal only have one goal to show for their dominance, with Andre Carrillo’s 60th-minute header the only time the visiting defence was breached as the 1-0 scoreline leaves the contest intriguingly balanced ahead of the return meeting at Saitama Stadium on November 24.
Riyadh: Al Hilal midfielder Mohammad Al Shalhoub is adamant his side needs the same level of preparation and performance to finish the job, following their 1-0 victory over Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League final on Saturday.
Al Shalhoub was an unused substitute as Al Hilal narrowly edged their visitors thanks to an Andre Carrillo header in the second half, and the two sides lock horns again in two weeks’ time for the title decider in Saitama.
Kuala Lumpur: Al Hilal dominated the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League final against Urawa Red Diamonds on Saturday but, after missing a number of excellent chances, will travel to Japan with only a 1-0 lead to defend.
With the international break to take centre stage over the next week before the return meeting at Saitama Stadium on November 24, the-AFC.com looks back at the facts and figures that caught the eye at Riyadh's King Saud University Stadium.
Analysis: Advantage Al Hilal, but Urawa remain in the tie
Kuala Lumpur: Al Hilal head to Saitama Stadium on November 24 with a one-goal advantage after Saturday's 1-0 victory over Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the final, but will they rue missed chances?
A 1-0 first-leg win, and importantly no away goals conceded, can be seen as a positive for Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, who in their previous final appearances drew (2017) and lost (2014) the first legs.
However, Urawa, too, may see the result as somewhat satisfactory. Missing their first choice goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa through a one-match suspension, and on the back foot for most of the tie, a single goal deficit with a trip to their home fortress to come may be deemed acceptable.
There is still everything to play for, says Urawa's Otsuki
Riyadh: Head coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki isn't overly worried despite Urawa Red Diamonds falling to a 1-0 defeat against Al Hilal SFC in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League final on Saturday.
Al Hilal were good value for the win and could have won by a bigger margin but the fact that, said Otsuki, the Saudi Arabia side didn't gives Urawa a fighting chance in the November 24 return leg in Saitama.
Final - 1st Leg: Al Hilal SFC (KSA) 1-0 Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN)
Riyadh: Andre Carrillo’s header was the difference as Al Hilal SFC secured a narrow 1-0 win over Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League at King Saud University Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts made their intentions clear from the start, controlling possession and building up pressure on their opponents, while Urawa kept a compact shape and looked to hit on the counter.
The first 20 minutes saw each side get a major opportunity, but heroic defending at both ends meant the goalkeepers would remain untested yet. Daisuke Suzuki threw his body to deflect Sebastian Giovinco’s shot 14 minutes into the game while Ali Al Bulayhi blocked Takahiro Sekine’s effort from inside the Al Hilal box three minutes later.