Football: South Korea’s Ulsan win Asian Champions League

Ulsan Horang-i defeat Iran’s Persepolis 2-1 to become Asian club champions in the final held in Qatar.

Ulsan Horang-i's Sin Jin-Ho lifts the trophy as they celebrate winning the AFC Champions League [Ibraheem Al Omari/Reuters]

Ulsan Horang-i of South Korea have defeated Iran’s Persepolis 2-1 in Qatar to become football club champions of Asia.

Two goals from Brazilian striker Junior Negrao gave the Tigers a come-from-behind win in the Asian Champions League final.

While Ulsan controlled the first half, a defensive mistake from Park Joo-ho allowed Mehdi Abdi to put Persepolis ahead with a low shot in the 45th minute.

There was still time before the break for Ulsan, the champions in 2012, to level. Yoon Bit-garam, who had hit the post in the ninth minute, was brought down in the area by Ahmad Nourollahi.

Junior Negrao’s penalty was saved by Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak but the striker, top scorer in the K-League in 2020, scored from the rebound moments before the break.

Ulsan had a second spot-kick eight minutes after the restart following a handball from Mehdi Shiri and this time the Brazilian made no mistake to score his seventh goal of the tournament.

Ulsan Hyundai FC players celebrate after the match [Ibraheem al-Omari/Reuters]

Persepolis pushed forward but were unable to find the equaliser despite a penalty claim five minutes from time.

The result leaves Iran still searching for a first continental championship since 1993, while Korea now has a record 12 titles, five more than Japan. Persepolis lost in the 2018 final.

Ulsan have been based in Doha since November to conclude the Champions League and took their second title, after 2012, having won their last nine games in the competition.

The final brought to an end a tournament extended to marathon proportions by the coronavirus, having started 11 months ago.

No games took place between March and September due to the pandemic and several were eventually hosted by Qatar in stadiums to be used for the 2022 World Cup.

Source: News Agencies