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Urawa beats Al Hilal to win third AFC Champions League | Football News

Japan won 2-1 on aggregate after beating Saudi Arabia’s Hilal 1-0 at Saitama Stadium.

The Urawa Red Diamonds clinched their third AFC Champions League crown as Andre Carrillo’s own goal gave Japan a 1-0 win over defending champions Hilal in a 2-1 aggregate win.

Carrillo’s error in the opening three minutes of the second half turned things around on Saturday, with Urawa taking the advantage despite Al Hilal’s long-term dominance before Japan won the 2007 and 2017 titles.

“Today, we are very happy, after months of hard work and considering this competition, we have won this trophy for the fantastic supporters of this big club,” said Urawa coach Maciej Scorza.

“It’s a huge honor for me, it’s been fantastic. It’s hard to find a way to describe this win.

“I felt the spirit of support, it was special. What I can say is that today we were not easy on the pitch. We struggled a lot of times, but we have one more player.”

Urawa had the upper hand in the second leg at the Saitama Stadium after Koroki’s equalizer gave his side a 1-1 draw in Riyadh on away goals last Saturday.

The Saudis, who missed out on the suspended Salem al-Dawsari and the injured Salman Al Faraj, dominated the opening 45 minutes of the second leg as Urawa’s Aleksandar Schulz was forced to block Odion Ighalo’s early shot over the line. .

Goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa was called in to make saves to stop Brazilian wingers Michael and Carrillo in a tight start for the hosts.

But Urawa came closest to breaking the deadlock when Koroki’s flying volley hit the crossbar, as the striker was unmarked inside the penalty area to meet a tempting cross from Hiroki Sakai on the right.

Three minutes into the second half, most of the 53,574 fans were on their feet. Norwegian defender Marius Hojblaten headed in from a free-kick and Al Hilal keeper Abdullah Almayouf spun in the wind before the ball bounced off Carrillo and into the net.

Urawa continued to create chances on the counter-attack as Al Hilal pushed forward. Tomoaki Okubo was beaten with only goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf firing and Atsuki Ito came close.

Al Hilal was denied the chance to take the game into extra-time in the 90th minute when Nishikawa reacted to push Igahlo’s shot away as Urawa held on.

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