AFC Champions League Final 2020: 5 Things to Watch | Football | News

Doha: The new king of Asian football will be crowned on Saturday when Persepolis FC and Ulsan Hyundai FC meet in the finals of the AFC 2020 Champions League.

The game at the Al Janoub Stadium sets the form side from the West Asian division of the draw against the strongest team from the East Asian side with Persepolis losing just one game from eight since the tournament resumed in Qatar and Ulsan post winning an eight – game streak on the way to the finals.

How the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea will be ready to meet in the final for the first time since 2010 – and only the second time ever – has selected five things to look out for.

1. Will the captain return very well?

At nearly 39 years old Persepolis captain Jalal Hosseini is well into the twilight of his two years of career but the club’s legend, which spent most of the 2020 Champions League, could AFC on the bench, set to return to starting XI ahead of the ditch with Ulsan.

The Tehran giants acquired Hossein Kanaani in 2019 as the captain’s longtime replacement and the 26-year-old was selected alongside Shojae Khalilzadeh for each round match. However, leaving Khalilzadeh to Al Rayyan after the semi-final opens the door for the return of the old backfield.

Hosseini was an inspiration in Persepolis’ run to the 2018 final, receiving an award for a last-minute winner against Al Jazira in the Round of 16 and a stunning return against Al Duhail in the semi-finals by including the opening of his side as they came from two down on aggregate to win 3-2.

When the dream finally came to an end against the Kashima Antlers in front of 100,000 spectators at Azadi Stadium, the captain was seen dragging his decentralized teammates to their feet in praise of those who was present because he showed real leadership qualities to the end.

While age may not be on his side, and Ulsan ‘s deadly front line will be difficult to maintain, it’ s fair to say that not many Persepolis fans will be upset to see their captain return to the line starter for the final on Saturday.

2. Attacking defense?

Persepolis and Ulsan ‘s run to the 2020 AFC Champions League final has left little doubt about the great strength of the individual sides, with the almost perfect Iranian giants at the back and their Korean counterparts top scores in the competition a bit of a distance.

From Matchday Three onwards in Qatar, Persepolis has not surrendered from open play in a run that now stretches back seven games. Only penalties from Almoez Ali at the group level and Abderrazak Hamdallah in the semi-finals are all the way past goalkeeper Hamed Lak as Iran’s backline has proven to be water tight.

While Ulsan’s defensive record is far from poor, at the other end of the pitch they have been virtually non-stop. The 2012 winners boast a 21-goal high contest from nine games and have three players who have scored four or more goals: Junior Negrao and Bjorn Johnsen (5) and Yoon Bit-garam (4).

Saturday’s big weekend promises to be a nightmare of different styles with strong defenses up against a strong attack. The heroes from Iran will be confident if they can claim that they could win with the strange goal, and Ulsan may be wondering if they can score early that the floods could open.

3. The new keepers

When the 2020 AFC Champions League kicked off back in February, Persepolis boasted one of Asia’s best keepers in Iran’s number one Alireza Beiranvand while Ulsan could sue one of the continents was Jo Hyeon-woo, who both shot to stardom at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

However, with the former leaving for Belgium in July and the latter separating on their own after testing positive for COVID-19 after international duty, the agents they have taken a good step forward.

Introduced in early September, the previously announced Lak has emerged as Persepolis’ last defensive line and has yet to be beaten from open play. In the biggest game of his career to date, the semi-final against Al Nassr, he pulled off an excellent penalty but denied Maicon and let Ali Shojaei go home from the winning spot-kick.

While Jo Hyeon-woo did not start Ulsan against FC Tokyo in February, he has played every K League 1 game of the season but, without him, Jo Su-huk has been an outstanding producer. , keeping three sheets clean and bending just once into the beating rounds.

Lak and Jo Su-huk don’t seem to have expected themselves in the AFC Champions League final several months ago, but that’s exactly where they are after proving the coaches ’faith in them and then some.

4. The standout star

Prior to the 2020 edition of the Continental tournament, Yoon Bit-garam appeared just once in the AFC Champions League when, as a 21-year-old, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma helped the rounds hit before moving to Bunyodkor Uzbekistan. He has not been seen in the competition since.

For a player with 15 caps for the Republic of Korea and with such a high ranking in his home country, it may come as no surprise that the 30-year-old has now not appeared at the top level more often. In fact, the winner of the 2010 AFC Champions League Sasa Ognenovski recently said that his Seongnam vice-player was among the best ballball experts he has ever played with in his career.

Yoon is now making up for wasting time, showing Asian football fans why people are so well thought out in Korea. Not only has the midfielder created three of his team’s goals, he has also scored four times – to add to the one he got back in 2012 – in the enterprise which has been an elegant enterprise.

A key link between Ulsan’s defense and attack, it could be argued that Yoon has been Horangi’s outstanding player since the tournament resumed. If he were to deliver another Saturday – winning match, a man who has not been seen on the Province so far could well be looking at an MVP award.

5. Nemati opportunity for repurchase

In Persepolis’ roller-coaster trip to the 2018 AFC Champions League final, which seemed to be the culmination of nail-biting moments from start to finish, no player may have felt the joy and despair. hope as Siamak Nemati, who experienced the high and low within a span of two weeks.

A goal down in the semi-final against Al Sadd at the Azadi-filled Stadium, Nemati brought home the equalizer to 100,000 feet with the goal that sealed his side’s place in the final. However, 11 days later, with his side two down in the first leg of the final against Kashima, the midfielder was sent off late and was subsequently sent off. return meeting as his campaign ended on the commemorative note.

Two years on and Nemati has not been short of isolation in Qatar. Used as a proper backup due to Mehdi Shiri ‘s absence earlier, he surprised head coach Yahya Golmohammadi so much that he made the position for himself as part of the most minimal defensive unit in Doha.

While it would be hard for Nemati to say that his red card in Japan impacted the 2018 finals result, there is little doubt that the 26-year-old will want to make up for the break-up. that bitter expectation and helping his team to win Asia ‘s biggest club award for the first time.

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