Analysis: Urawa get game plan spot on against goal-shy Guangzhou
Kuala Lumpur: Urawa Red Diamonds got their tactics right to secure a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League final after Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Guangzhou Evergrande in the second leg of the semi-final saw the J.League side progress 3-0 on aggregate.
A 2-0 first-leg win meant Urawa took a strong advantage into the return meeting at Tianhe Stadium, although Guangzhou had gone 21 home games unbeaten on the Continent and had never been eliminated by a Japanese side in the knockout stage.
ACL 2019 SF Second Leg Toyota Player of the Week: Shusaku Nishikawa
Kuala Lumpur: Shusaku Nishikawa has been named as the Toyota Player of the Week after the goalkeeper's stand-out performance in Urawa Red Diamonds' 1-0 victory away at Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday helped his side into the 2019 AFC Champions League Final.
The custodian had blanked Guangzhou's dangerous attacking line-up in the first leg in Saitama at the beginning of October and he recorded a second clean sheet at the intimidating Tianhe Stadium.
Unlike in Japan, where he was rarely troubled, Nishikawa was called into action on multiple occasions in southern China and pulled off eight saves, the highest in the knockout stage and joint-third highest overall at the 2019 AFC Champions League, to earn an 8.7 rating.
On the same pitch but wearing the red shirt of Guangzhou, Zhang Linpeng(below), came in second in this week’s rankings after the full-back put in an impressive shift despite his side ultimately failing to progress to a third final.
Cannavaro comments inspired us to victory, says Koroki
Guangzhou: Shinzo Koroki has revealed that Fabio Cannavaro’s confidence that Guangzhou Evergrande would lift the 2019 AFC Champions League was the motivation Urawa Red Diamonds needed to overcome their fellow two-time winners and progress to the final.
Urawa’s 2-0 first-leg win over the Chinese side three weeks ago gave them the upper hand going into the return meeting at the Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday and, after withstanding first-half pressure, Koroki’s 50th-minute goal all but killed the tie off as the 2007 and 2017 champions secured a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Urawa have been struggling domestically as they hover dangerously near the J.League relegation zone but have been superb on the Continent and the striker, who notched his eighth goal of the campaign, revealed that his teammates were spurred by comments made by Guangzhou’s Italian coach.
ACL 2019 Allianz Goal of the Week: Bafetimbi Gomis (Al Hilal SFC)
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com announced on Friday that Al Hilal's Bafetimbi Gomis is the winner of this week’s Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final second legs.
Guangzhou: Head coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki paid tribute to his players and the travelling band of fans who backed his side at Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday as Urawa Red Diamonds advanced to the final of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Shinzo Koroki’s 50th minute header sealed Urawa’s place in the final, where they will meet Al Hilal SFC from Saudi Arabia in a rematch of the 2017 decider, as the J.League side completed a 3-0 aggregate win over Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande.
Guangzhou: Shinzo Koroki silenced the Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday with a header that sent Urawa Red Diamonds into the final of the 2019 AFC Champions League as the J.League side secured a 1-0 win over Guangzhou Evergrande to book their place in next month’s decider.
Koroki’s 50th minute goal earned Urawa a 3-0 aggregate win over the Chinese Super League leaders and ensured the final will be a repeat of the 2017 clash, when Urawa defeated Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia over two legs to claim their second AFC Champions League crown.
The pair will face off again after Al Hilal's win over Al Sadd from Qatar on Tuesday evening and Urawa will now have the chance to become the first club to win the trophy on three occasions, having seen off a Guangzhou side attempting to overcome a two-goal first leg deficit to keep their own hopes of a third AFC Champions League title alive.
Guangzhou: Fabio Cannavaro called on Chinese football to learn from the work being done to develop talent in Japan after seeing his Guangzhou Evergrande side become the latest Chinese Super League club to exit the 2019 AFC Champions League at the hands of Urawa Red Diamonds.
Guangzhou’s quest for a third continental title came to an end on Wednesday when Shinzo Koroki’s second half header ensured Urawa added the Chinese Super League leaders’ scalp to that of Beijing FC and Shanghai SIPG.
Urawa eliminated Beijing in the group phase before defeating Shanghai in the quarter-finals and claimed their third Chinese victim at the Tianhe Stadium when they finished off a 3-0 aggregate win over Cannavaro’s team.