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AFC Champions League

AFC Champions League 2017: Al Hilal to battle Urawa Red Diamonds in final

9:27 AM GMT+4 19/10/2017
Urawa Reds v Shanghai SIPG
Al Hilal sealed their spot in the final with a draw against Persepolis while Urawa Red Diamonds downed Shanghai SIPG...

We have the finalists of the AFC Champions League determined after Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal and Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds sealed their berth in the summit clash after seeing off their semifinal opponents this week. Let's take a closer look at what transpired: 


PERSEPOLIS 2-2 AL HILAL [Mensha 16' 61' - Khribin 30' 76']


Omar Khribin starred for Al Hilal with a brace as the Saudi Arabians held Persepolis 2-2 on the night to advance to the final with a comprehensive 6-2 aggregate score. More interestingly, Omar Khribin scored five of those six goals. 

Needing to overturn a 4-0 deficit from the first leg, Persepolis took the lead in the 16th minute when Vahid Amiri dispossessed Al Hilal’s Mohamed Al Burayk on the flank and crossed for Nigerian striker Godwin Mensha to head home. But Al Burayk made amends for his mistake when he surged into the Persepolis box and was brought down. Omar Khribin went on to chip the subsequent penalty past the goalkeeper to make it 1-1. 

Mensha pulled Persepolis ahead in the 61st minute after he latched onto Ali Alipour’s backpass and fired into the bottom corner. But any small hopes Persepolis might have harboured were smashed by Khribin who received Al Dawsari's pass, twisted and finished. 

The result means Al Hilal are yet to taste defeat in the competition. 


URAWA RED DIAMONDS 1-0 SHANGHAI SIPG [Rafael Silva 11']


An early strike from Rafael Silva was all it took Urawa Red Diamonds to seal a 2-1 aggregate win over Shanghai SIPG in the AFC Champions League semifinals on Wednesday. 

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg in China, this game was always supposed to be a nail-biter and that is exactly how it turned out. Shanghai had the first chance of the match early on when Lu Lei sent a header straight at the opposition goalkeeper but Rafael Silva struck for Urawa in the 11th minute. He got to Yosuke Kashiwagi’s out-swinging corner ahead of Odil Ahmedov and nodded home, much to the delight of the home faithful. 

Shanghai tried their best to manufacture an equaliser and Hulk saw a freekick being tipped over the bar. In a tense second half, Shanghai enjoyed most of the ball but were unable to break Urawa Reds down who held on to dear life and reached their first final since 2007.