Urawa Red Diamonds pulled off a surprise victory over Al-Hilal in the Asian Champions League final, claiming their third ACL crown in history.
The decisive moment came when an own goal from Andre Carrillo handed the Japanese side a narrow 1-0 win in the second leg and a 2-1 win on aggregate. Despite featuring for the full 90 minutes in both legs, Odion Ighalo was unable to score for Al-Hilal as they were dethroned as ACL holders.
Although Al-Hilal were arguably the better side over the two matches, they were unable to convert their chances into goals. Despite the disappointment, coach Ramon Diaz was proud of his team’s performance and acknowledged that they did their best to retain their title. Diaz expressed gratitude to his players for their tremendous effort throughout the tournament.
“This was a tough game and we’ve played many tough games in a short time, but this is our destiny we can’t do anything about it,” Diaz said.
“The team played very well. They put on a very high-level performance and they showed the personality of champions.
“We created chances but we couldn’t score any goals. I want to thank the players for the huge effort they did until now.”
Urawa Red Diamonds’ coach, Maciej Skorza, praised Al-Hilal for their performance and admitted that his side had achieved a major victory over the competition’s favourites. He acknowledged that it was a tough game, but they managed to beat the defending champions to win the trophy. Skorza expressed his respect for Al-Hilal and the result they had achieved.
“From the first minute, we didn’t need to play a very risky game. Generally our target was to win this trophy. That was our target,” Skorza said.
“Of course we would like to win scoring three or five goals, that would be fantastic but today playing such a good team like Al-Hilal we had to beat them.
“To win against Al-Hilal does not happen every day so we should respect today’s result.”
Although Al-Hilal lost the ACL final, they can still finish the season on a high note as they are set to play in the final of the Saudi King’s Cup, their third cup final of the current season.