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AFC Champions League Final: Five Great First-Leg Goals

Published on: 11 November 2017

Kuala Lumpur: Excitement is building across Asia ahead of the upcoming AFC Champions League final between Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia and Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds.

With Al Hilal set to welcome Urawa to Riyadh on November 18, gets you in the mood by looking back at five great goals from previous editions of the first leg of the main event.

1. Salem Johar – 2002-03 AFC Champions League: Al Ain vs BEC Tero Sasana


The inaugural edition of the revamped AFC Champions League culminated in 2003 with a two-legged final between Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates and Thailand's BEC Tero Sasana. 

In the first leg at Al Ain, the home side took the lead with a strike that sent Salem Johar into the record books as the first player to score in an AFC Champions League final. 

Mohammed Omar laid the ball across to Johar and the captain could not resist having a go from 25 yards out as his left-footed strike flew past the diving ‘keeper to send the crowd into raptures.

2. Denis Laktianov – 2004 AFC Champions League: Al Ittihad vs Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 


Al Ittihad's comeback triumph in the 2004 AFC Champions League final is the stuff of legend, and the Saudi giants' victory was all the more unbelievable given the nature of their 3-1 defeat to Korea Republic's Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the first leg in Jeddah.

In front of expectant Al Ittihad fans, it was Seongnam who took the lead with an excellent goal from Denis Laktionov.

Starting from the halfway line, the Russian midfielder went on a surging run into the box and cut onto his left foot before netting with a sublime finish.

Although Al Ittihad would turn the tables with a stunning 5-0 victory in the second leg, Laktionov's individual effort remains one of the most memorable AFC Champions League final goals.

3. Yeom Ki-hun – 2006 AFC Champions League: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Al Karamah


In 2006, Syria’s Al Karamah went on a remarkable run to the final of the AFC Champions League, where they were pitted against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. 

The Damascus side were left with a difficult task after Jeonbuk registered a 2-0 win in the first leg, when Korea Republic international Yeom Ki-hun's opener was the pick of the two.

The skillful winger controlled an aerial pass with an exquisite first touch and then finished with aplomb past Musab Balhous, before Yeom and his teammates went on to lift the title despite a 2-1 defeat in the second leg in Homs.

4. Danilo Asprilla - 2016 AFC Champions League: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Al Ain


The fourth goal on our list comes from last year’s final when Al Ain's Danilo Asrpilla opened the scoring against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors following excellent work from playmaker Omar Abdulrahman.

With the game still goalless, Abdulrahman came up with a moment of inspiration as the soon-to-be AFC Player of the Year found himself cornered by three defenders near the touchline, and nobody expected what came next.

The Al Ain captain displayed his eye for the ingenious with a superb lobbed pass to Colombian Asprilla, who took a touch and finished with a fine half-volley as the home support was silenced.

5. Leonardo - 2016 AFC Champions League: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Al Ain


We round off the list with another goal from the 2016 final when, 10 years after their first triumph, Jeonbuk returned with the aim of becoming two-time champions. 

Playing at home in the first leg, Jeonbuk were stunned when Al Ain took the lead shortly after the hour; however, they retained their composure and went on to win 2-1 courtesy a double from Leonardo.

The first of those goals came in the 70th minute, when the Brazilian picked up the ball just outside the penalty area.

Moving on to his stronger right foot, Leonardo sent an unstoppable shot to the top right corner that left goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae with no chance.

Photo: Lagardère Sports



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