Urawa Red Diamonds

Impressive Al-Hilal crowned AFC Champions League winners

Al-Hilal will be no pushovers at the forthcoming 2019 Club World Cup in Qatar. As was the case in the first leg, the Saudi outfit delivered an accomplished performance and were simply too good in all departments for J-League side Urawa Red Diamonds.

A Second half strike from Salem in the 74th minute was the nail in the coffin for any Urawa aspirations with the goal heralding the end of the tie as a contest. French striker Gomis tapped home an added time second to send the small pocket of blue clad travelling fans into raptures as they now turn their thoughts to the Club World Cup in December.

A word of note for the Urawa supporters who packed the Saitama Stadium today and were relentless in their unwavering support for their side. Their exit today will be Qatar's loss in December.

Congratulations Al-Hilal, 2019 AFC Champions League winners!



Commiserations to Urawa Red Diamonds and especially to their wonderful fans.  

FT in Saitama. Al-Hilal are the 2019 AFC Champions League winners. Many congratulations to the Saudi Arabian side.  

0-2 on the night 0-3 on aggregate. Easy finish for the French player tapping home after a counter with Urawa committing players foreward.

Gomis crowns it for Al Hilal 0-2 Gooooooooooooooooooooooooool 

Veteran Mohammad Al-Shalhoub to come on for the final minutes. 

Urawa fans still singing at the tops of their voices. 

4' of time to be added


Into the final minute of the contest. Credit to Al-Hilal and worthy winners of the 2019 AFC Champions League.

Abe on with Aoki making way (Urawa)

Giovinco off and Kanno on for the visitors


Al Hilal almost bag a second with Salem going close.

The goal for the visitors was Urawa's worst nightmare scenario. It was in the pipeline though with the Saudi side most impressive for the entire 180'.


Rayan Alsegaih has a ling range effort for Al Hilail but fires straight at Nishikawa


Every credit too to the Urawa supporters who have been majestic today. non stop noise for the entire match and ratched up a notch after the Saudi side took the lead. Thick and thin fans ! Respect : )


Into the final ten minutes of the tie. Al-Hilal will be very, very tough opposition at Qatar !

Al-Burayk is stretcherd off for the visitors. Abdullah Al-Hafith poised to come on

Fabricio off for Urawa with Sugimoto on.

 Tomoaki Makino is booked for the home team.

Urawa now need 3 goals to win the tie and the final and .... that's just not going to happen is it ? Then again I'm sure many River Plate fans though this last night too .... this is football, expect the unexpevted !

Salem bagging the goal for the men in blue

Gooooooooooooooooooooooool. Al Hilal score !



Sublime play from Giovinco as the Italian finds Gomis unmarked but his effort is straight at the Urawa keeper. A goal for the visitors seems more likely than a home side opener.


Time slipping away from the Japanese side. The desperately need to find the goal to level the tie but have rarely called Al Mayouf into action in the Al Hilal goal.

I really expected more from Urawa today. They disapointed in Saudi Arabia in the first leg but again today seem unable to craft a way past the well disciplined and orgabnised Al Hilal side.  

Carrillo is body checked by Sekine and needs medical help after the collission.

Nagasawa off - Y. Kashiwagi on (URD change)

The ball falls invitingly for Yasser Al-Shahrani but the no. 12 blazes over the bar.


Nishikawa spills the ball but deflects away as the men in blue pile on more pressure.

Takuya Iwanami also carded for the home side 


Best move of the game (tie) from the home side with neat link up play on the right wing as Al Hilal were carved open. Al-Mayouf was on hand though to deal with the final headed effort from Fabricio.


Another threat from the Saudi side but the flag was up as the ball dips over the crossbar. 

Aoki carded fo a late challenge

Top top support !


Al Hilal almost open the scoring as Gomis sees a couple of efforts blocked. The pattern of the first half and indeed first leg seems to be repeating itself with Al-Hilal the dominant side.

Terrible mis hit header from Al Hilal defender Ali Al Bulaihi as he heads the ball away from goal with just the Urawa keeper to beat.


Bright start from the home side with the fans still doing their bit.

45' left in this 180' contest. Urawa have been poor. Can they dig deep ...will Al Hilal  hang on? Stay with us as all will be revealed.   

The teams emerge from the Saitama Stadium tunnel. 


The home support from the Urawa fans has been the best thing about the Japanese side who have really yet to carve out a clear-cut goal scoring oportuinity.

The victors of tonight's tie will face Esperance de Tunis in the Club World Cup 1/4 final with Flamengo set to face the winners of that game.

What can the home side offer in the second half? They have just 45' to secure the vital goal that could take the tie to extra time. 

HT at Saitama Stadium. Al Hilal will be the happier of the sides after the first 45'. The game reminiscent of the first leg with the J-League side struggling to secure a foothold in the contest.


Al Hilal go close again but fail to terminate the build-up. The final finish/pass has been that one stumbling block for the Saudi side. 

First card of the night awarded to Takahiro Sekine for a pull on an Al Hilal player


We've seen the Italian striker hit the target so many times before from this distance and angle. Salman Al-Faraj also over the ball. Ultimately it's Giovinco who takes but fires the ball straight into the Urawa wall.

Free for Al Hilal on the edge of the Urawa box, Giovinco poised to take.


...and indeed the very three combine, but the Italian striker over-hits the pass and ultimately Gomis is forced to try his luck from an acute angle. Easy for Nishikawa to gather. 

Giovinco, Gomis and Peruvian Carrilo looking like the men to hurt Urawa. 

10' remaining in the first half. Urawa showing brief glimpses of what they can do but fair to say that the visitors are comfortable.  


Aoki gets a shot off for Urawa but his left footed effort sails high and wide. 


Al Bulayhi almost latches on to an inswinging free kick but the ball just fizzes past the defender.  

Urawa's Tsuyoshi Otsuki certainly the more agitated of the head coaches at present. Lucescu looking relaxed and happy with his sides display so far this evening.


Urawa go close after great work from Iwanami on the left, his ball was teasing but blocked by the sheer number of Al Hilal defenders. Much better from the J-League outfit.

Possession after 20': Urawa 43-57 (%) Al Hilal

Sadly the Urawa side are not on the same level as the fans. Non stop noise from the red clad supporters. 

Shots stats: Urawa 0-3 Al Hilal

from what we've seen so far ... possibly Al-Hilal.


More Al-Hilal danger as Giovinco pulls the ball back from the by-line but hacked away be the side in red.

Should Al-Hilal progress to the Club World Cup final stages, they will be no pushovers!


Urawa really at 6's and 7's being carved open with ease by the men in blue. 


As they did in the first leg, the Saudi side looking the sharper with great movement and accurate passing. Abdullah Al-Mayouf called into action smothering well as  Daiki Hashioka was ready to pull the trigger.


Valentin Kovalenko (Uzbekistan) is today's match offciial


Giovinco out-muscled by Urawa's Everton as the referee has a world with Al Hilal's Jang Hyun-soo for unsporting behaviour.


Al-Hilal undaunted about the wall of noise emerging from the Saitama Stadium as they look calm and composed moving the ball around.  

Urawa Reds have the complicated task of ensuring they keep a clean sheet but striving to get the goal that would see the J-League side back in the tie.

Off we go and Al-Hilal straight on the attack but the ball drifts out of play.

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Al-Hilal fans also in the Saitama Stadium

Fabulous mosaic stretcing aound the Saitama Stadium with home supportersd in fine voicve and already creating a din as the AFC promotional is cleared form the puitch.

The teams are on the pitch. All blue for Al-Hilal, red shirts, white shorts and black socks for the home side.  


With ko looming, a reminder of the starting XI's for today's final (2nd leg)


The fans are ready in Saitama...

For the bookmakers, Urawa are the outsiders to lift the trophy with a 4/1 price on the J-League side winning out. 

10' minutes to go in Saitama. How do we see this going?

The AS English predictions are in:

Andy: Urawa Reds 1-3 Al-Hilal

Paul: Urawa Reds 1-1 Al-Hilal   

Al-Hilal to win !  

Al-Hilal have made the final of the AFC Champions League on six occasions: Winners in 1991 and 2000 with the men in blue on the losing end in 1986, 1987, 2014 & 2017

Al H

Al Hilal will wear their blue kit today and Urawa too will wear their traditional red.  

and the Al-Hilal XI بالعربية

The Urawa starting XI in Japanese !

2007 and 2017 the two years when the Red Diamonds lifted the trophy.

Japan's Urawa looking to maintain the run of Japan wins. The Saitama side were 2017 champions with Kashima Antlers winners last year.  

Don't forget that if today's game is tied after 90 minutes (ie the score is 1-0 for Urawa) then we´ll heave extra time and possible penalty kicks to discover the winner of the 2019 AFC Champiins League.

A tiny pocket of blue amongst a sea of red with 750 approx travelling fans making the trip to Saitama

A handy guide from the Al-Hilal social media team as to the kick-off for today's game wherever you are in the world 


What's the weather like in Saitama for the game, I hear you ask....Decent conditions for players and fans alike with a mild 17 degrees celcius at kick-off.   

The Urawa XI now alos confirmed: 

The winners of today's tie will fill the last vacant place at the forthcoming FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December. Brazil's Flamengo secured the CONMEBOL berth last night in a dramatic final against River Plate.    

The Saitama Stadium is currently a sea of red with a packed house expected today.

Al-Hilal confirm their starting XI 

The action gets underway at 11:00 CET and we'll bring you the best of the build-up as wee discover the final participant at the forthcoming FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.

Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds face Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal with the visitors holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from Saitama of the second leg of the AFC Champions League final.