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Urawa Reds, Al-Hilal Renew Rivalry in Asian Champions League Final

Reigning champion Al-Hilal and the Urawa Reds, two-time tournament winners, will meet for the third time in the last six years to crown the ACL winner.



Urawa Reds and Al-Hilal
Urawa Reds manager Maciej Skorza (left) and Al-Hilal manager Ramon Diaz attend a news conference on April 28, a day before the first leg of the Asian Champions League final, in Riyadh. (KYODO)

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The Urawa Reds have won the Asian Champions League twice (2007, 2017), and the Saitama-based J.League soccer club is back in the tournament final again.

Saudi club Al-Hilal, which has won a record four ACL titles, will vie for its fifth continental crown against the J.League's Reds. The first leg of the home-and-away final kicks off in Riyadh on Saturday night, April 29 (Sunday, 2:30 AM JST).

In the second leg, Urawa will play host to reigning ACL champion Al-Hilal on Saturday, May 6 at 6 PM at Saitama Stadium.

The teams are quite familiar with one another in this setting. A quick reminder: The Reds defeated Al-Hilal in the 2017 final, and their Saudi opponent conquered Urawa in 2019, winning 1-0 at home and 2-0 in Saitama.

Looking ahead to their showdown to determine the 2022 Asian Champions League winner (the tournament season started last year), Al-Hilal manager Ramon Diaz said strong competition will be on display.

"We know that it’s going to be a difficult game but that is what you expect when you reach a final," the 63-year-old Diaz said, according to The Associated Press.

The Argentine boss added, "We know what we have to do and we also know that this is the first half and then we go to Japan."

Continue reading the full story 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