Urawa Reds have advanced to the 2017 AFC Champions League final after defeating Shanghai SIPG 1-0 at home on Wednesday in the second leg of the East Zone final.
Knowing they had the advantage on away goals after their 1-1 first leg draw in Shanghai, the Reds were fearless from the kickoff as they ventured into the SIPG end, scoring after just 11 minutes when Rafael Silva sent in Yosuke Kashiwagi’s corner kick.
After Wataru Endo’s 17th-minute header went wide, the hosts went on the defensive, with Tomoaki Makino and company stepping up to prevent the likes of Hulk from scoring an equaliser.
The 1-0 scoreline continued throughout the second half, and in the 78th minute it was Shusaku Nishikawa who took a star turn when he deftly blocked Hulk’s free kick and Elkeson’s ensuing second effort.
Following four minutes of additional time, referee Chris Beath blew the final whistle to send the Reds to their first ACL final in a decade, where they will face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.
The first leg will take place on November 18 in Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium, while the second leg is set for November 25 at Saitama Stadium.
The Reds’ MEIJI YASUDA J1 League Round 32 match at Kashima Antlers will be moved up from November 18 to November 5, while their Round 33 match against Kawasaki Frontale will be pushed back from November 26 to November 29.