South Koreans Ulsan Hyundai cruised to their first Asian Champions League title as they outclassed Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia 3-0 in the final on Saturday to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.
Captain Kwak Tae-hwi opened the scoring in the 13th minute with Brazilian forward Rafinha (68th) and midfielder Kim Seung-yong (75th) adding second half goals as the Koreans dominated the final they hosted in Ulsan after a draw by organisers. The 3-0 win was Ulsan's ninth consecutive victory in Asia's premier club tournament, which they went through unbeaten, as a South Korean team lifted the trophy for the third time in four years.
Ulsan collected the $1.5 million winners cheque and trophy from AFC acting president Zhang Jilong and will now represent Asia in the Club World Cup next month in Japan where they will take on Mexican side Monterrey in the quarter-finals. The victory in the south-eastern city never looked in doubt once Ulsan took the lead thanks to their big central defender Kwak Tae-hwi, who glanced a header from Kim Seung-yong's free kick in to corner of the Al Ahli goal.
Ulsan strikers Rafinha and Kim Shin-wook caused the visitors numerous problems as the home side played in a surprisingly direct style in contrast to the more possession-conscious play that had helped them reach the final for the first time. But while the Koreans routinely pinned Al Ahli back in their own half with a pressing high defensive line, they struggled to
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