Excitement builds ahead of 2020 AFC Champions League Final
The 2020 AFC Champions League is set for a thrilling finale as 2018 runners-up Persepolis FC from Iran look to create history with their maiden Continental club crown when they face an inspired Ulsan Hyundai FC eyeing their second title following their 2012 success in what promises to be a classic battle at the Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday at 3pm (local time).
Adding to the excitement, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Qatar Football Association (QFA) are in discussions to allow local spectators into the stadium, with further details on the match day protocols for fans to be finalised in the coming days.
Increasing the stakes, 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, as part of the AFC’s commitment to ensure the health and wellbeing of all players, teams and match officials and all stakeholders against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The enticing Final looks set to be a memorable affair between Asia’s best clubs from the East and West both equally determined to cement their place in Asian football history and claim one of the richest Continental club prizes in world football.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.