Urawa Red (Japan) has risen to the top of the Asian Club for the first time in six years.
Urawa won메이저놀이터 1-0 in the second leg of the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) final against Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) held at Saitama Stadium 2002 in Japan on the 6th. Urawa, who drew 1-1 in the first game, lifted the championship cup by leading 2-1 on the aggregate of the first and second games. Following 2007 and 2017, they won their third championship, becoming the East Asian winningest team along with Pohang Steelers.
On this day, the home team, Urawa, operated a 4-2-3-1 formation. Shinzo Goroki stood at the forefront, and Tomomaki Okubo, Yoshio Koizumi, and Takahiro Sekine were in charge of the second line of attack. Atsuki Ito and Ken Iwao stood as defensive midfielders. The back four consisted of Saki Hiroki, Marius Höbroten, Alexander Schultz, and Atsuki Ito. The goalkeeper gloves were worn by Nisaka and Shusaku.
Al-Hilal faced with a 4-3-3 formation. Abdullah Alhamdan, Odion Ighalo, and Michael Delgado stood in the forward three-top. The midfield consisted of Andre Carrillo, Abdullah Otaif and Mohamed Canno. The four-back consisted of Ali Al-Bulaihi, Jang Hyun-soo, and Saud Abdulhamid. The goalkeeper was Abdullah Almayouf.
By the middle of the first half, Al Hilal increased possession and took the initiative. When Urawa dropped the line, the Urawa camp organically turned the ball around and looked for an opportunity. When they lost possession of the ball, they increased the intensity of pressure from the front and rarely gave Urawa a chance.
Al-Hilal, who had been pushing hard, made the first effective shot in the 21st minute of the first half. Delgado hit a sharp shot near the arc circle, but it was blocked by goalkeeper Nishikawa who threw his body.
Urawa, who made a long-awaited attack attempt, missed a decisive first goal opportunity. In the 30th minute of the first half, Sakai broke through the defense from the right flank and posted a quick cross. Goroki surged up and connected with a right-footed shot, but it hit the top of the goal and went out.
Al-Hilal’s attack followed. In the 42nd minute of the first half, Kariyo caught the ball from behind the arc circle and took a shot without hesitation, but goalkeeper Nishikawa blew himself away. The first half ended 0-0.
Urawa, who had been pushed back in the first half, scored the opening goal in the third minute of the second half and succeeded in overpowering the team. A roving pass stabbed forward near the center line was connected to the center with a header by Höbroten. Carrillo kicked it into the goal and it became an own goal.
Urawa, who scored the opening goal, immediately went into a ‘lock’. Al-Hilal pursued, but no effective shooting came out until the middle of the second half. In the 28th minute of the second half, Ighalo hit a sharp shot from the center of the box, but Hoebroten blocked it with a physical defense.
After breaking off the attack, Urawa immediately attempted a counterattack. In the 29th minute of the second half, Okubo received a pass from Jose Kante and hit a left-footed shot, but it went over the post. Then, in the 32nd minute of the second half, Ito hit a surprise shot from outside the box, but it hit the side net on the left side of the goal.
Al-Hilal pushed until the end of the game, but Urawa’s tenacious defense prevented it every time. The match ended 1-0 without an equalizer.
Urawa was behind in possession (29%-71%), shooting (6-10), and passing (181-512). In particular, there was not a single effective shot. However, he showed a sharp counterattack while focusing on defense, and eventually won the championship with Al-Hilal’s own goal.
Al-Hilal’s central defender Jang Hyeon-soo played the full 90 minutes. He effectively blocked Urawa’s attack and occasionally participated in the attack and played a good role, but he bowed his head by giving away the championship.