Ulsan Horangi beats Al Ahli to win Asian CL
ULSAN, South Korea (AP) -Ulsan Horangi of South Korea won the Asian Champions League on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli in the final at Ulsan World Cup Stadium.
Kwak Tae-hwi headed a floated free kick into net in the 13th minute to put Ulsan ahead and set the team on course for a first continental title and the tenth for a South Korean side.
Brazilian striker Rafinha extended that lead midway through the second half and Kim Sung-yong sealed the win in the 76th in front of 42,000 fans with a fierce half-volley.
In the end, it was a comfortable victory for Ulsan and a ninth consecutive win of its campaign - an Asian Champions League record.
Ulsan coach Kim Ho-gon paid tribute to his team.
"The win is down to the players, it is all because of them. We told them that we needed to win the game and to treat it as a normal game. I told them to pressure the opposition from the first half and we got off to a good start.''
Kim added that Ulsan had taken confidence from its 4-0 win over Al Hilal in the second leg of the quarter final in Saudi Arabia.
"From then, we knew we could win the competition and we could look forward and face any team in the belief that we could beat anyone.''
Al Ahli coach Karel Jarolim was disappointed with the performance that ensured a second loss in as many finals. The team created few chances and rarely troubled the Ulsan goalkeeper.
"I would like to congratulate Ulsan for winning,'' said the Czech tactician. "We missed opportunities in the first half. After the first goal, we had a few chances to get at least a goal in the first half but were unable to take them.
"In the second half, I was planning to make a substitution but was surprised when Ulsan scored a second. After that, we lost our concentration and we didn't focus well and Ulsan took control of the ball and the match and went on to score the third goal.''
Ulsan will now represent the Asian Football Confederation at the FIFA Club World Cup in December, taking on Monterrey of Mexico in its first game.
"I am really happy to get the chance to go to the Club World Cup,'' said Kim. "The players are the same and we are really looking forward to it. We have had a great year in the Asian Champions League and we hope we continue that.''
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