Saitama: Urawa Red Diamonds defender Tomoaki Makino conceded he and his teammates were outclassed by Al Hilal SFC as the Saudi Arabian side finally claimed their first-ever AFC Champions League title with victory over the two-time winners on Sunday.
Tsuyoshi Otsuki’s men failed to feed off an electric atmosphere at Saitama Stadium, where the 2017 AFC Champions League winners went down meekly against the visitors from Riyadh.
It was the first time in tournament history that a Japanese club has lost the AFC Champions League final, and Reds defender Makino made no excuses as their bid for a third continental crown was unsuccessful.
Saitama: Urawa Red Diamonds head coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki was left lamenting his side’s inability to claw back their first-leg deficit in the opening 45 minutes of the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League final as the two-time champions lost out on Sunday to Al Hilal SFC.
The side from Saudi Arabia completed a 3-0 aggregate win thanks to second half goals from Salem Al Dawsari and Bafetimbi Gomis to claim the title for the first time in the club’s history.
Urawa went into the game at Saitama Stadium trailing by a goal from Andre Carrillo in the first leg in Riyadh two weeks ago and Razvan Lucescu’s side kept the 2007 and 2017 champions’ attack quiet throughout much of the game.
Final - 2nd Leg: Al Dawsari, Gomis strikes seal Al Hilal title
Saitama: Goals from Salem Al Dawsari and Bafetimbi Gomis ensured Al Hilal claimed the AFC Champions League for the first time in the club’s history as the Riyadh-based side completed a 3-0 aggregate win over Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium on Sunday.
Al Dawsari’s close range effort 16 minutes from time and Gomis’ injury time strike gave Al Hilal a 2-0 win on the night and allowed them to complete a historic win following their first leg victory at the King Saud University Stadium two weeks ago.
Al Hilal become the first club from West Asia to win the title since Al Sadd’s victory in 2011 and they are the first team from Saudi Arabia to claim the trophy since the second of Al Ittihad’s back-to-back wins in 2005.
Central Asia Domestic Wrap: Six in a row for Altyn Asyr, Istiklol taste Cup glory
Bishkek: FC Altyn Asyr reinforced their status as the kings of football in Turkmenistan with a sixth successive Yokary Liga title, while FC Istiklol completed a clean sweep of Tajikistan’s domestic honours with a dramatic Cup Final win.
Elsewhere, relegation beckons for two Uzbekistan clubs, while Iranian top flight action resumed after the international break.
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Saitama: With communication the key to their victory, Jang Hyun-soo’s crash course in English played a key role in the former Korea Republic international helping Al Hilal SFC secure the 2019 AFC Champions League title on Sunday.
Jang’s performance at the heart of the Saudi Arabian club’s defence kept Urawa Red Diamonds at bay before goals from Salem Al Dawsari and Bafetimbi Gomis ensured the club from Riyadh finally won the title.