Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea on Saturday came from behind to defeat Persepolis of Iran 2-1 and become the champions of Asia for the second time.
Two goals from Brazilian striker Junior Negrao gave the Tigers the win in the AFC Champions League final in Doha. Ulsan also won in 2012.
The result left Iran still searching for a first continental championship since 1993. Persepolis also lost in the 2018 final.
South Korea has a record 12 titles, five more than Japan.
“We have worked so hard in the past month or so and I want to thank the players,” Ulsan coach Kim Do-hoon said. “The final was tough against a very good team, but we are delighted ... to be champion of Asia.”
While Ulsan controlled the first half, a defensive mistake from Park Joo-ho allowed Mehdi Abdi to put Persepolis ahead with a low shot in the 45th minute.
Ulsan leveled just before the break. Yoon Bit-garam, who hit the post in the ninth minute, was brought down in the area by Ahmad Nourollahi.
Junior Negrao’s penalty was saved by Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak, but the striker, top scorer in the K League this year, scored from the rebound.
Ulsan had a second spot-kick eight minutes after the restart following a handball from Mehdi Shiri, and this time the Brazilian made no mistake to score his seventh goal of the tournament.
Persepolis pushed forward, but were unable to find the equalizer despite a penalty claim five minutes from time.
Despite the win, Kim, 50, confirmed he would not be renewing his coaching contract with Ulsan.
“I am really happy that I made the decision to come to Qatar,” he said. “As for me, my contract ends today, so these are my last moments with the club. I need to get some rest back in Korea.”
“We lost two titles in Korea and were a bit frustrated, but since coming here, the players proved that football is about having fun and being happy, and I hope they can win more titles in the future,” he said.
“I was actually not supposed to be here in Qatar because the results we achieved in Korea were not so good but, somehow, I came here and my wife was rooting for the team and for me, and eventually I got the honor of lifting this trophy,” he said.
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