|—- The AFC Cup 2019 Final witnessed another historic night as Al Ahed claimed their first-ever continental club crown after the Lebanese side defeated 4.25 SC from DPR Korea 1-0 in an excellent final at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium.
Having successfully secured their passage into the final, Al Ahed also sealed their place in Asian football’s history books as the first side from Lebanon to clinch the coveted prize.
The AFC president, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, congratulated the West Asian winners: “Al Ahed have produced an outstanding campaign from start to finish and the whole Asian football family joins me in congratulating them for creating history with their inaugural title.
“We must also commend 4.25 SC for reaching their first final and for displaying great determination and spirit throughout the competition.
“The AFC Cup exemplifies our ambitions to provide more opportunities for more Member Associations and clubs to compete in top level competition and I am sure that the performance of both Al Ahed and 4.25 SC will inspire more Member Associations and clubs to raise their ambitions and instil a sense of belief that through hard work and teamwork, anything is possible.
“Congratulations also to the Lebanese Football Association for their remarkable efforts in growing the game and I am confident that this is only the beginning of more success in the future for football in Lebanon.”
The AFC president also thanked the Football Association of Malaysia for hosting the Final as well as the AFC Member Associations, fans and all stakeholders for their commitment in staging another historic AFC Cup season.
Shaikh Salman added: “I would also like to thank the Football Association of Malaysia for their continued support and organisational capabilities. We must also convey our utmost appreciation to our Member Associations and clubs who have been exceptional in enhancing the prestige, quality and stature of the competition each year.
“And just as important, our passionate fans, our commercial partners and members of the media, all of whom continue to play an integral part of our success.”
Monday’s thrilling encounter between Al Ahed and 4.25 SC was the first time a Lebanese side had ever faced a team from DPR Korea in the AFC Cup. In the end, Issah Yakubu’s 74th minute header proved the all-important decider while 4.25, reduced to 10 players after goalkeeper An Tae-song was sent off in the 26th minute, were denied a chance to create their own piece of history.
Last year, history was also made when Air Force Club from Iraq not only staged the final in their own country but also secured a third successive title while in 2015, Johor Darul Ta’zim became the first-ever ASEAN winners of the AFC Cup.