Saudi Al Hilal coach Ramon Diaz revealed that the physical pressure on his team was the reason for losing the second leg of the AFC Champions League final 1-0 against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds and losing their continental title on Saturday.
Al-Hilal, the defending champions, had tied 1-1 at home last week, to lose 2-1 on aggregate against the Japanese team, which won the title for the third time in its history after 2007 and 2017.
The crowning of Urawa came with a scenario similar to what happened six years ago, as it tied with Al-Hilal in the first leg with a goal for each of them, then won the second leg with a goal.
Urawa’s goal came in Saitama today by Andre Carrillo, Al-Hilal player, by mistake, in the 48th minute.
The Argentine coach told reporters: We tried to threaten the opponent’s goal during the two halves, and we were able to reach the goal through many opportunities, but we did not translate these opportunities into goals.
“The frequent participation of players, especially international players, in matches with the crowded schedule in the league affected them, so I was keen to thank them, especially since we faced Al-Ittihad before the Urawa match in the first leg.”
Al-Hilal defeated Al-Ittihad 1-0 in Jeddah in the semi-finals of the King’s Cup, six days before hosting Urawa in Riyadh.
Diaz added: The busy schedule of matches we can do nothing about but adapt to it, but during today’s match we had luck and he did not stand by us.
“Al-Hilal was destined to be the only one playing under unparalleled match pressure. But despite everything, we apologize to the fans for losing the tournament, whose outcome was affected by small details.”
Abdullah Atif, Al-Hilal player, said: We apologize to the fans and promise them to win the King’s Cup title.
Al-Hilal qualified for the final match, where it will meet Al-Wehda next Friday at Al-Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah.