Doha: The West Zone of the AFC Champions League™ 2022 drew to a conclusion on Sunday with defending champions Al Hilal SFC confirming their spot in the final against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds following an astonishing 7-0 semi-final win over Qatar’s Al Duhail SC.
The knockout stages, which were held in the centralised hub of Qatar, witnessed some fascinating matches over the past week. The-AFC.com takes a look back at what those involved had to say about the key moments.
Diaz confident of different outcome in Urawa rematch
Doha: Ramon Diaz is confident of a different outcome when Al Hilal SFC play Urawa Red Diamonds in the AFC Champions League™ 2022 final.
The Argentine coach was in charge when Al Hilal suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the Japanese side in the 2017 decider, losing 2-1 on aggregate.
Al Hilal, however, are a different side now from then as the Saudi Arabian side went on to lift the trophy twice - in 2019 and 2021 - and Diaz is confident they will become only the second side to emerge back-to-back champions in the AFC Champions League era.
Doha: Hernan Crespo raised his hand in defeat after Al Duhail SC were taught a sobering lesson by Al Hilal SFC in their AFC Champions League™ 2022 semi-final at the Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday.
The defending champions were in imperious form as they cruised to a 7-0 victory, leading to Crespo admitting that the Saudi Arabian side thoroughly deserved the win which booked them a final date with Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds.
Doha: Defending champions Al Hilal SFC will take on Urawa Red Diamonds in the AFC Champions League™ 2022 final after Ramon Diaz’s side dismantled Qatar’s Al Duhail on Sunday with Odion Ighalo hitting four in a comprehensive 7-0 semi-final win at Al Thumama Stadium.
Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal will host the first leg of the final in Riyadh on April 29 before travelling to Japan to take on Urawa at Saitama Stadium on May 6 and the four-time winners will be confident of retaining the title after a remarkable and ruthless display in Doha.
Preview - SF: Al Duhail SC (QAT) v Al Hilal SFC (KSA)
Doha: The AFC Champions League™ 2022 (West) Semi-final has all the ingredients to be a spectacular affair with Qatar’s Al Duhail SC to face Al Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia.
Al Hilal, the defending champions, are seeking to lift the trophy for the third time in four years while Al Duhail are in their maiden semi-final, with the winners to face Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds, with the two-leg final to be played on April 29 and May 6.
Al Wakrah: Ramon Diaz applauded his players for their commitment and passion after Al Hilal SFC defeated Foolad Khouzestan FC 1-0 to advance to the AFC Champions League™ 2022 (West) semi-final on Thursday.
Moussa Marega’s 87th minute winner took Al Hilal into a semi-final meeting with Qatar’s Al Duhail SC on Sunday and Diaz said the players deserved the victory against a resilient Foolad.
Doha: Michael Olunga was the hero with both goals but the Kenyan striker paid tribute to his teammates after Al Duhail SC defeated Al Shabab FC 2-1 to advance to the AFC Champions League™ semi-finals for the first time on Thursday.
After a tight first half which saw both teams exchanging blows, Olunga scored in the 77th and 85th minutes to all but secure Qatar’s Al Duhail their place in the semi-final, with Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab netting a consolation through Saeed Al Rubaei in added time.
Olunga, the 2021 AFC Champions League topscorer, was deservingly named Player-of-the-Match but the striker said it was team effort which took Al Duhail through.