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Sun, 17 Nov 2019 13:30 GMT

AFC Champions League Momentous Final: Saudi’s Al Hilal, Japan’s Urawa Reds

Sport

Mahmoud Al Assal

Fri, 08 Nov 2019 18:31 GMT

Al Hilal, Saudi Arabia’s premier football team will host Japan's Urawa Reds in the first leg of the Asian Champions League final at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on Saturday 9th November, according to Eurosport website.

The two sides, who each have two continental titles under their belt, will fight to reach the record of the South Korean side Pohang Steelers who won the AFC Champions League title three times.

The Saudi giants reached the tournament’s final after beating Qatari side Al Sadd in the semi-finals 6-5 on aggregate, while Urawa Reds booked their ticket after smashing Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 on aggregate last month.

Al-Hilal are expected to make use of the home and fans advantage when they host Urawa to ease their mission to the title in the second leg game. The Riyadh-based club have failed to snatch the title in two finals in the past five years as they lost 1-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers on aggregate in 2014, and then in 2017 they lost to Saturday's opponent Urawa 2-1 on aggregate.

Al Hilal’s Romanian coach Răzvan Lucescu confirmed the preparedness of his team ahead of the Champions League final, confirming he will start the game with a full squad.

“We will represent Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League final and we have to not forget that the final will be played in two legs,” Lucescu told a press conference ahead of the game on Friday.

“Our team is in full power ahead of the game and don’t fear anything, they will play the game to enjoy football.

“Since I joined the team, I have heard all the fans demanding that we win the Champions League title and we are close to achieving their goal,” Lucescu said.

Al Hilal are leading the Saudi League table with 20 points, level with rivals Al Nasr who are in the position of runners-up.

When asked about the league, the Al Hilal coach confirmed that his team are in the lead and it was not the time to speak about the domestic competition.

“We are preparing ourselves for the Asian Champions League final and we won’t be affected by anything else,” he said.

Urawa Reds’ coach Takeshi Otsuki confirmed that he worked with his team to win against Al Hilal in the first leg, “In the second leg of the game we will draw strength from our home Japanese fans in attendance to secure the continental title,” Otsuki told a press conference on Friday.

Otsuki has expressed his pleasure at Japanese fans’ attendance in Riyadh to support the team.

The second leg game of the AFC Champions League final will be played on Sunday, November 24th at Saitama Stadium 2002 in Japan.


Middle East