Al-Hilal Asian Champions League 

Urawa late strike dashes Al Hilal’s Champions League win dream

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Rafael Silva scored late to give Urawa Reds of Japan a 2-1 aggregate victory over Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League final on Saturday.

The Brazilian fired home at Saitama Stadium in the 88th minute for a 1-0 win in the second leg. Silva also scored for Urawa in the 1-1 draw from the first leg in Riyadh.

Urawa secured its second continental title, 10 years after the first.

“I can’t put this feeling into words,” Silva said. “I’ve been trying to overcome an injury for the past week and it has been difficult, but we’ve all been in a difficult situation and we’ve come through it.”

Al Hilal, reduced to 10 men late in the game, has won the title twice, but not since 2000. It also reached the final in 2014.

The Saudi club had more possession and chances but was unable to break down the compact host.

Frustration grew and, with 12 minutes remaining, Salem Al Dawsari was sent off for a late tackle.

With two minutes left, Silva sent almost 60,000 fans wild with an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from just inside the area.

“We played well during the tournament but today circumstances were against us,” said Al Hilal coach Ramon Diaz, referring to injuries to star players Eduardo and Omar Khribin. “We were unlucky but this is football.”

Urawa will represent Asia at the Club World Cup in December.

The win extends the dominance of east Asian teams in the competition, with no team from the west of the continent winning the title since Al Sadd of Qatar defeated South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors on penalties in 2011.

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