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    Maciej Skorża makes history as Urawa Reds win AFC Champions League

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Maciej Skorża, the Polish coach of Urawa Reds, has achieved a remarkable feat in just over three months since joining the Japanese club. Urawa Reds recently reached the final of the AFC Champions League, where they faced Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw, with Salem Al-Dawsari giving Al-Hilal the lead in the 13th minute, only to be equalized by Shinzo Koroki of Urawa Reds in the 53rd minute.

    Despite not dominating the game for the entire 90 minutes, Urawa Reds managed to minimize their losses in this challenging away match. Moreover, they successfully avoided any injuries or red cards, as highlighted by Dan Orlowitz, a journalist from “The Japan Times,” in an interview with TVPSPORT.PL.

    The first half was evenly contested, with the visitors enjoying more possession while the hosts focused on their defensive game and looked for opportunities to counterattack. Eventually, Urawa Reds found their chance to create a goal-scoring opportunity. Shinzo Koroki received an excellent pass inside the box and unleashed a powerful shot that rattled the crossbar. On the other hand, Andre Carrillo came closest to scoring for Al-Hilal, but Urawa’s goalkeeper, Shusaku Nishikawa, denied his attempt.

    In the second half, luck favored Skorża’s team. Carrillo inadvertently deflected a header into his own net, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead from the 49th minute onwards. Although Al-Hilal continued to dominate possession, Urawa Reds had opportunities to extend their lead. First, Takahiro Sekine missed a chance after a precise pass from Ekstraklasa’s familiar face, Jose Kante (74th minute). Shortly after, Atsuki Ito unleashed a dangerous shot from the edge of the penalty area, narrowly missing the left post. The score remained unchanged until the final whistle.

    Despite Al-Hilal being the pre-match favorites, Urawa Reds emerged victorious, securing their third AFC Champions League title in history. With this triumph, Maciej Skorża etched his name in Polish football history as the first Polish coach to win the AFC Champions League. Notably, Skorża also became the first Polish coach since 1990 to claim a continental trophy, when Stefan Żywotko guided JS Kabylie to victory in the African Cup of Champions Clubs.

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