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Ulsan edge Persepolis to claim Asian crown

  • Ulsan come from behind to prevail over Persepolis 2-1
  • K-League side win the Asian Champions League for second time in their history
  • Ulsan to represent Asia at FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™

Korea Republic’s Ulsan Hyundai won the 2020 AFC Champions League on Saturday, overcoming an early setback to defeat Iranian side Persepolis 2-1. Brazilian Junior Negrao scored both of his team’s goals, helping Ulsan to secure the Asian title for the second time in their history, after they previously emerged victorious in 2012.

With this victory, Ulsan made amends for some of the domestic mishaps they have suffered over the past couple of seasons, having finished as runners-up in the last two Korean title races and in this year’s Korean Cup final. Today’s continental achievement more than makes up for it.

Consequently, Ulsan will represent Asia in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™, which will be held in Qatar from 1 to 11 February 2021. The South Koreans could potentially face off against footballing giants such as European champions Bayern Munich and Egypt’s Al Ahly.

AFC Champions League Final

Persepolis 1-2 Ulsan, Al Janoub Stadium, Qatar

Goals:

Mehdi Abdi (45’) for Persepolis

Junior Negrao (45’+4) (55’, pen) for Ulsan

The game

The Iranians started the match strongly, and almost opened the scoring when Milad Sarlak sent in a cross that just evaded Mehdi Abdi, depriving Persepolis of a valuable opportunity. Ulsan responded well, Yoon Bitgaram striking the left-hand post with a powerful shot at the conclusion of a brilliant attack.

Persepolis managed to open the scoring when Abdi drove forward and fired home from just inside the box (45’). Just before half-time, Ulsan won a penalty: Negrao’s initial effort was saved, but the composed No9 stroked home the rebound to level the score.

The South Korean side began the second half as they had ended the first, earning another penalty after a handball in the area. This time, Negrao made no mistake at the first attempt (55’). The Iranians pushed hard to get back in the game and squandered several viable opportunities, but Ulsan’s defence held firm, and the game ended 2-1.

Under the spotlight

Brazilian Junior Negrao was the undisputed hero of the game, scoring twice to clinch the title for his team. He proved a threat for the Iranian defenders throughout the encounter, causing havoc with his dribbling skills and pace. His brace takes his total for the tournament to seven goals, which makes him the joint top scorer with Al Nassr’s Abderrazak Hamdallah.

Awards

Tournament top scorer: Abdul Razzaq Hamdallah (Al Nassr), 7 goals (played fewer minutes than Negrao)

Fair Play Award: Ulsan (Korea Republic)

Player of the Tournament: Yoon Bitgaram (Ulsan)

Did you know?

This is the second time Ulsan have been crowned Asian Champions. Their first success came in 2012, when they beat Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 3-0 in the final.

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