K-League giants Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma took home the 2010 AFC Champions League title for the first time in 14 years after a comfortable 3-1 victory over Iran’s Zob Ahan FC in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday night. Seongnam added its second Asian title to its already impressive resume which also includes seven K-League titles.
After falling short to Pohang Steelers in the 1997 final, the long waited Asian title for Shin Tae-yong’s men finally came. The club suffered a shocking loss in 2004 finals after getting humiliated 6-3 on aggregate by Al Ittihad followed by a heartbreaking loss in penalty shoot-out in the semifinals to Urawa Reds Diamonds in 2007.
Shin, as a player and captain, was part of Seongnam’s two previous losses in the final.
Returning to the final as a club with a squad which no longer boasts Korea’s biggest names, Seongnam replaced its former star-studded presence with tactical astuteness and team chemistry.
The Koreans went ahead in the 28th minute thanks to their Australian import Sasa Ognenovski who after the match was awarded the Player of the Match Award.
In the 52nd minute, it was Cho Byung-kuk who extended the lead with a header.
Zob Ahan managed to cut into Seongnam’s lead six minutes after the hour mark when its star striker Mohammad Reza Khalatbari scored on a rebound following Jung Sung-ryong‘s save on Igor Castro‘s shot, but the winners were all but decided with eight minutes remaining as Kim Chul-ho‘s right footed shot found the net to clinch the title for Korea’s most celebrated football club.
Seongnam 3-1 Zob Ahan (Tokyo National Stadium — Japan)
Seongnam – 28′ Sasa Ognenovski, 52′ Cho Byung-kuk, 82′ Kim Chul-ho
Zob Ahan – 66′ Mohammed Reza Khalatbari
Seongnam: Jung Sung-ryong – Sasa Ognenovski, Cho Byung-kuk, Kim Tae-Youn, Ko Jae-sung – Kim Sung-hwan, Kim Chul-ho, Jo Jae-cheol – Song Ho-young (79′ Kim Jin-yong), Cho Dong-geon (88′ Namkung Do), Mauricio Molina. (Manager: Shin Tae-yong)
Zob Ahan: Shahab Gordan – Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, Mohamad Ali Ahmadi, Farshid Talebi, Hossein Mahini – Shahin Kheiri (56′ Sina Ashouri), Alireza Hadadifar, Mehdi Rajabzadeh (79′ Esmaeil Farhadi) – Igor Castro (87′ Mohammad Salsali), Mohammad Ghazi, Mohammad Reza Khalatbari. (Manager: Mansour Ebrahimzadeh)