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2021 AFC Champions League Final Guide: Al Hilal vs Pohang Steelers


All of our AFC Champions League Final coverage in one place from player interviews to match previews and more.

KLU Pod | ACL Final Preview with Shin Jin-ho, Alex Grant, and Wael Jabir

Ryan Walters flies solo in the Kim Do-hoon Bunker, but far from alone for the episode! First up, Paul Neat speaks with ACL 2020 champion Shin Jin-ho about playing in back-to-back finals and what lessons he learned last year. 

We further our look at Pohang with Semi-Final hero Alex Grant discussing that goal, difficulties the team is facing, and the self-belief in the locker-room. 

The second segment sees Ryan joined by Ahdaaf Founder & CEO Wael Jabir to get more detail on Saudi champs Al Hilal, their dangermen, and what to expect in the Final. 



FNR

Written Interviews

Alex Grant Part 1: "We deserve to be in the final"


"When we were going into the games with Nagoya and Ulsan I remember saying that we felt confident. And it is surreal, I mean, I think we deserve to be there. We deserve to be in the final going off how we played in the competition. But in the league, we haven't been consistent and it's cost us at times and the position in the league that we're in is probably justified. But we've been absolutely immense in the Champions League, and the boys have stepped up we've deserved to be in the final. So, it's going to be an amazing experience for every player because it's not often you can say you can get to a final, it's extremely hard to get to any final whether it be domestically or in a competition as big as the Champions League."

Read more: here

Alex Grant Part 2: "We just want to go there and win it"


"It'd be nice, wouldn't it for the club to kind of go outright and have four titles in the Champions League, and leave Al Hilal on three. I don't think that's something that's playing on anyone's mind, it's just probably an added bonus. Really, we just want to go there and win it. That's what we set out to do from the start of this season and that's what we're looking to do whilst we're there."

Read more: here

Full video version on KLU Patreon: here

Shin Jin-ho: "We're getting ready to give it our all" 


"I think there is a big difference if you don’t have that experience of winning a championship. Personally, after winning it last year, I gained a lot of confidence. I think psychologically I have a lot of confidence and experience that I can give. First of all, in Saudi Arabia there will be a lot of fans, it’s an away game that we have to play while the opposition will have their fans there, that’s the reality and so I'm trying to pass on my experience to the players to help them mentally."

Read more: here

Watch
KLU Patreon

Match Previews

AFC Champions League Final Preview: Al Hilal vs Pohang Steelers - Shibajee Das


The eagerly-anticipated final of the 2021 AFC Champions League will see Pohang Steelers make the daunting trip to Riyadh to take on Saudi giants Al Hilal. Pohang will aim to overcome the odds once again in the biggest match of Asia's elite club competition. Who will clinch a record-breaking fourth ACL title at the King Fahd International Stadium on Tuesday, November 23?

Read Shibajee's full preview: here

A week of cup finals

2021 AFC Champions League Final Guide Al Hilal vs Pohang Steelers

Next week is cup final week for some silverware-chasing K League teams. Pohang Steelers seek a record fourth AFC Champions League title on the night of November 23rd before Jeonnam Dragons and Daegu FC meet in leg one of the FA Cup Final less than 24 hours later with the Dragons chasing a fourth FA Cup crown.  

Pohang fans might take comfort in knowing that their team doesn't need to be in the best of form domestically to produce a big result in ACL. While the Steelers were in good form before the Group Stage - just one loss in 11 - Kim Gi-dong's side had just two wins in six with two defeats before the Round of 16 match with Cerezo Osaka. Before the quarterfinals and semis, Pohang lost three on the bounce, bounced back with a late 3-2 win over Gwangju FC then knocked out both Jeonbuk and Ulsan. 

Read more: here

Press Conference



Kim Gi-dong: "This final means a lot to both myself and the players. Rather than beating anyone in particular or setting a record, I just want to win for myself.

"There haven't been that many games this season where I was able all the players I wanted. Since there are other players, we have been preparing by carrying out different kinds of simulations."

Lim Sang-hyub: "It has been a difficult season but I am absolutely delighted to be able to get to the Champions League Final. I think our fans have enjoyed this run to the final. In this last game we are representing Korea, we will do our best to make sure they enjoy it and we can win.

"Of course, the best scenario for me would be to score and we win. But more than goals from me, I just want to help the team win the title. If I can't score then I want to assist someone else to score the winner. "


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