Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Saitama: Rafael Silva’s late strike ensured Urawa Red Diamonds were crowned AFC Champions League winners for the second time on Saturday after a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal saw the Japanese side wrap up a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.
In a goalless first half of few chances at Saitama Stadium, Al Hilal’s Salem Al Dawsari came closest when he shot just over the crossbar, but the same player was then sent off for a second bookable offence with 12 minutes remaining.
And with just two minutes left Brazilian Silva won the game and the competition for Urawa when he blasted the ball home from inside the box as Takafumi Hori’s side secured the 1-0 win to add to the continental title they won 10 years ago.
Urawa had the first sight on goal in the opening minute when Kazuki Nagasawa fired wide from just inside the left side of the box, before the midfielder’s 20-yard effort inside 10 minutes was gathered by goalkeeper Abdullah Al Mayoof.
The visitors then came close in the 25th minute when Al Dawsari jinked past Tomoya Ugajin then drove a powerful effort narrowly over Shusaku Nishikawa’s goal as the game remained tightly poised.
Al Dawsari then burst forward once more five minutes before the interval but this time saw his left-footed attempt from just outside the box deflected wide for a corner.