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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Urawa Reds Win Asian Champions League Title

An own goal by Al-Hilal's Andre Carrillo gave the Urawa Reds the victory in the second leg of the ACL final. The Reds rallied for a 1-1 draw in the first leg.



Urawa Reds
Urawa Red players celebrate after wining the Asian Football Confederation's Asian Champions League on May 6 at Saitama Stadium. (Issei Kato/REUTERS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Urawa Reds Win Asian Champions League Title

The Urawa Reds relied on stout defense and benefited from a costly mistake by Al-Hilal to capture their third Asian Champions League title on Saturday night, May 6.

Urawa recorded a 1-0 triumph in the second leg of the ACL final before an announced crowd of 53,574 at Saitama Stadium. Al-Hilal, which entered the day as the reigning continental champion, fell behind on Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo's own goal in the 48th minute.

When the final whistle blew, Reds fans celebrated enthusiastically and the J.League club's players and coaching staff congregated and congratulated one another with hugs and high-fives.

The Reds, who earned a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the ACL final on April 30 in Riyadh, won the final by a 2-1 aggregate score. In the first leg, Shinzo Koroki scored the equalizer for Urawa in the 53rd minute, giving his club a big boost before its return to Japan from Saudi Arabia.

Urawa Reds
Al-Hilal's Andre Carrillo (left) in action with Urawa Reds' Takahiro Akimoto. (Issei Kato/REUTERS)

In the rematch a week later, gusts of wind influenced the action for both teams, including on what turned out to be the biggest play of the match.

Big Break for Urawa Reds

After Urawa's Ken Iwao booted a free kick aided by Mother Nature's breeze, Norwegian teammate Marius Hoibraten kept the offense moving with a header intended for Koroki in front of the goal.

Koroki didn't get a chance to take a shot, though.

Al-Hilal's Andre Carrillo scores an own goal in the 48th minute. (Issei Kato/REUTERS)

Instead, Carrillo accidentally knocked the ball into Al-Hilal's goal.

It proved to be the only offense the Reds needed.

"They put us under constant pressure right from the start and it was a difficult game," Koroki was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

"But in the second half we started to push them back and although we didn't have so many chances, we made it count when we did."

Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on baseball, basketball, sumo and more on SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven

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