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AFC Champions League

AFC Champions League 2017 final: First leg preview - Al Hilal vs. Urawa Red Diamonds

15:17 GMT 18/11/2017
Al Hilal vs Persepolis; Omar Kharbin
Two teams stand at the final hurdle after strenuous journeys that lasted the entire year and have Asia's biggest prize in their sights....

The ultimate prize in Asian club football will be in the sights of Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal and Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds when they meet in the first leg of the final of the Asian Champions League 2017 on Saturday in Riyadh. 

Al Hilal will be eager to make amends for their final loss in 2014 while Urawa Red Diamonds will look to win the title for the second time in their history, having won it in 2007. 

Al Hilal have reached the knockout stages in every year of the competition since 2009 but have reached the final only once in 2014 before this year. This time around, their form has been formidable going into the final. 

Al Hilal are yet to taste defeat in Asia and claimed the prize scalp of Al Ain in the quarterfinals, much to the surprise of the pundits. Omar Khribin has been leading the lines for them brilliantly and his hat-trick in the semifinal first leg against Persepolis effectively sealed their spot in this marquee clash. He will be one to look out for in the Al Hilal ranks. 

The 2007 champions Urawa Red Diamonds have been sensational this campaign, turning around a couple of difficult scorelines and scoring goals for fun at home. They have scored 28 goals on their march to the final, meaning the Al Hilal defence has to be wary. 

Their stirring comebacks against Kawasaki Frontale and Jeju United were eye-catching and this 'never say die' spirit will stand them in good stead. 

Rafael Silva is Urawa’s leading marksman with seven goals and Al Hilal would do well to mark him tightly. All in all, King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh is set for an exhilarating game!