Admin November 24, 2019

Al Hilal became the final team to book their place at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 as they secured a 3-0 aggregate win over Urawa Red Diamonds to triumph in the AFC Champions League final.

The Saudi Arabian club gained revenge for their defeat in the final against the same opponent two years ago, clinching their first Champions League trophy since the inaugural tournament in 2003. Salem Al Dawsari and B’s second-half goal clinched the 1-0 away win to secure the gold medals they craved. They will now take on African champions Esperance Sportive de Tunis on 14 December.

Arriving in Saitama with a one-goal lead, handed to them by Andre Carillo’s first-leg effort, meant Al Hilal could have rested on their laurels, but through some well-organised pressing they looked the more dangerous of the pair.

Even so, a slick move orchestrated by Shinzo Koroki and Kazuki Nagasawa crafted the clearest opening of the half. The latter’s inch-perfect lay-off teed-up a fierce shot from Takahiro Sekine was fantastically blocked by Ali Albulayhi. Beyond that, gilt-edged chances were at a premium.

Into the second half, with Urawa committing more and more bodies forward – though chances still proved elusive, Al Hilal struck a decisive blow. A slick move found Sebastian Giovinco all alone on the left side of the box to square for the unmarked Al Dawsari, who duly tapped in. It was redemption for the man sent off in their final meeting in 2017.

With Urawa committing all men forward at the death, it was left for Gomis to put the icing on the Saudi cake as he capped off another flowing counter-attack to send the side to Qatar.