ASEAN Wrap: Sydney test for Premiers City; Tampines stumble
Kuala Lumpur: The semi-final contests in the A-League are confirmed after Adelaide United and Sydney FC both posted victories in the elimination finals over the weekend in Australia to join Premiers Melbourne City and second-placed Central Coast Mariners in the final four.
Title-chasing Tampines Rovers suffered their first defeat of the season in Singapore when they fell to Balestier Khalsa on Friday while defending champions and league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) recorded their fifth successive victory by overcoming Hougang United 5-0 on Saturday.
It’s a three-way battle between Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen United and PT Prachuap to avoid relegation in Thailand while there were first wins of the season for Lun Bawang and MS ABDB in Brunei Darussalam, so join the-AFC.com as we review the week’s action from across ASEAN.
East Asia Wrap: Kitchee champions of Hong Kong; Marinos close in
Hong Kong: Kitchee SC secured their third consecutive Hong Kong Premier League crown by salvaging a point in a 2-2 draw against title challengers Lee Man FC on Sunday in a nail-biting final game of the season that saw them finish two points clear at the top.
Yokohama F. Marinos are within two points of Vissel Kobe at the top of the standings in Japan after the defending champions posted back-to-back wins against Sagan Tosu and Kyoto Sanga while the leaders threw away a two-goal lead against high-flying Nagoya Grampus last Wednesday.
In Korea Republic, reigning champions Ulsan Hyundai increased their advantage at the top of the standings to eight points with a 3-0 defeat of Daegu FC and there were also matches in China PR, Chinese Taipei, Macau and Guam, so join the-AFC.com as we review the week’s action from across East Asia.
Saitama: Urawa Red Diamonds defender Alex Scholz paid tribute to former head coach Ricardo Rodriguez after the Japanese club defeated defending champions Al Hilal SFC to win the AFC Champions League™ for a third time at Saitama Stadium 2002 on Saturday.
Rodriguez guided Urawa through the group phase and the knockout rounds last year, securing the team a place in the final with a shoot-out win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors before leaving the club at the end of last season after a disappointing J.League campaign
The Spaniard has since been replaced by Poland’s Maciej Skorza, who masterminded the 2-1 aggregate win over the Saudi Arabian side after instilling a newly positive atmosphere within the Urawa squad.
Saitama: Head coach Ramon Diaz wants Al Hilal SFC to bounce back from their AFC Champions League™ 2022 disappointment by challenging for the title again next season.
Al Hilal’s bid for a third title in four seasons was denied by Urawa Red Diamonds on Saturday, with the Japanese side carving a 1-0 win in the second leg for a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Al Hilal had started the match positively, with the experienced trio of Abdullah Al Hamdan, Odion Ighalo and Michael leading their charge but failure to convert their chances cost the Saudi Arabia side dearly at the Saitama Stadium 2002.
Skorza credits hard work for Urawa’s amazing triumph
Saitama: Head coach Maciej Skorza revealed that hard work and dedication were the reasons behind Urawa Red Diamonds lifting the AFC Champions League™ 2022 title on Saturday.
An own goal from Andre Carrillo in the second half sealed Urawa a 2-1 aggregate win over defending champions Al Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia as the Japanese side became the first team to win the trophy for a third time in the AFC Champions League era.