- Persepolis and Ulsan will contest the AFC Champions League last
- The Iranians will play their second decider in three years
- The South Koreans are vying for a second title
Persepolis, the Iranian champions for the previous three years, and 2012 Asian champions Ulsan Hyundai of Korea Republic, meet in Qatar this Saturday with the AFC Champions League title on the road and the correct to the symbolize the continent on the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™. FIFA.com previews the ultimate of Asia’s flagship event between one crew hoping to make amends for earlier losses and one other searching for the title for the second time.
19 December, Al Janoub Stadium (15:00 native time – 1300 CET)
Persepolis go into the match decided to make up for the frustration of the 2018 Champions League last, which they misplaced 2-0 on combination to Japan’s Kashima Antlers. Winners of the Iranian league for the previous three years, Persepolis hope to copy their home dominance on the continental stage.
For the Iranian outfit and their coach Yahya Golmohammadi, this shall be removed from simple. Not solely have their opponents ample Champions League expertise , however additionally they gained the 2012 version, defeating Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 3-0 within the decider.
The street to the ultimate
Persepolis obtained off to a disappointing begin on this 12 months’s competitors, taking only one level from their opening two matches earlier than the event was suspended as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. When video games resumed in September, with all fixtures held in Qatar, the Red Army gained three of their subsequent 4 matches, topping Group C and progressing to the knockout stage.
The Iranians then defeated Qatar’s Al Sadd and Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor within the final 16 and quarter-finals respectively. In the semis, Persepolis prevailed towards one of many favourites for the title, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr, in a penalty shootout (5-3) following a 1-1 draw after additional-time.
For their half, Ulsan head into the decider on a powerful unbeaten run. They topped Group F after profitable 5 and drawing one in all their opening six matches, throughout which they scored 14 objectives. The 2019 and 2020 South Korean champions carried that kind into the knockout part, seeing off Melbourne Victory 3-0 within the final 16.
In the quarter-finals, they then overcame China PR’s Beijing Guoan with a brace from Brazilian Junior Negrao, earlier than eliminating Vissel Kobe and their star Andres Iniesta within the semis to succeed in the ultimate for less than the second time within the membership’s historical past.
The Tehran giants put extra of a premium on crew play than particular person abilities, as evidenced by six completely different gamers sharing the crew’s 12 objectives en path to the ultimate. At the again, they are going to be relying closely on goalkeeper Hamed Lak, who stored a clear sheet in 5 of the seven video games he performed.
In midfield, coach Golmohammadi shall be trying to Iraqi worldwide Bashar Rasan, who advised FIFA.com that “the team that makes the fewest mistakes on Saturday will win.”
For their half, Ulsan shall be banking on their attacking prowess, significantly that of Brazilian Junior Negrao and Norwegian Bjorn Johnsen. The pair have every scored 5 instances on this version, accounting for nearly half their crew’s whole. Kim Do-hoon’s gamers even have a wealth of expertise.
As nicely as a number of internationals who play for the Korea Republic nationwide crew, Ulsan have midfielder Yoon Bitgaram, famend for his talent with the lifeless ball, and veteran captain Lee Keun-ho, the one surviving member from their Asian title triumph eight years in the past.