DOHA: The 2020 AFC Champions League reaches its climax – at last! – on Saturday when Iran’s 2018 runners-up Persepolis chase history and a first continental crown against South Korea’s 2012 winners Ulsan Hyundai.
The Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar is the stage and Asian confederation and Qatar Football Association are in discussions to allow local spectators to attend.
This year’s final will be the first time the continent’s most sought after club prize will be decided over a single leg since 2012 and the first decider since 2010 to be staged in a neutral venue – enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Match referee will be Qatar’s Abdulrahman Ibrahim Y J Al-Jassim.
Persepolis were made to work hard for their spot in the Final after a slow start in the Group Stage in February, but hit the ground running after the West restart in September to finish as leaders of Group C.The Iranian giants grew stronger with each battle, registering impressive victories over 2011 AFC Champions League winners and home favourites Al Sadd and Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor in the knockouts before displaying nerves of steel to overcome Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on penalties in a nail-biting Semi-final to seal their second Final appearance in three years.
Ulsan Hyundai have hardly put a foot wrong in their route to the final, having scored more than any other team in the tournament with 21 goals, winning every match since restarting their campaign in Qatar.
The 2012 Asian club champions eliminated Melbourne Victory and Beijing FC in the knockouts before an outstanding comeback saw them overcome this season’s debutants Vissel Kobe in extra-time on Sunday.