AL HILAL SFC (KSA) VS FC POHANG STEELERS (KOR)
FACTS AND FIGURES
● This will be the first game between Al Hilal and Pohang Steelers in the AFC Champions League.
● Pohang Steelers have faced Saudi opposition only once before in the AFC Champions League. It also happened to be in the final against Al Ittihad in 2009 when Pohang Steelers were crowned AFC Champions League winners for the first time in their history (2-1). This will be the second appearance for Pohang Steelers in the Final of the competition after 2009.
● Al Hilal are playing in the AFC Champions League Final for the fourth time in their history – a record in the competition (winners in 2019, runners up in 2014 & 2017). They could become the first team to lose in the Final of the competition three times (currently tied on two with UAE side Al Ain and Iranian side Persepolis).
● Al Hilal have lost their only two previous games against South Korean opposition without scoring a single goal. They faced Ulsan Hyundai in a two-legged quarter final in 2012, losing 0-1 at home and 0-4 away.
● South Korean teams have played in nine AFC Champions League Finals previously (winning six times) – more times than any other nation. Saudi clubs have featured in seven AFC Champions League Finals (the second most of any nation), winning three times. Saudi teams have faced South Korean teams in three finals previously in the competition, losing in the last two such finals
(Al Ittihad v Pohang Steelers in 2009, Al Hilal v Ulsan Hyundai in 2012).
● Al Hilal have only lost two of their last 16 games in the AFC Champions League (W11 D3 L2). They have won five consecutive games in the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in the club’s history. Only two teams in the competition have won 6+ knockout games in a row – Guangzhou (2012-2013) and Ulsan Hyundai (2012-2018) with both teams winning a record seven
consecutive knockout games.
● Pohang Steelers have scored each of their last 28 goals in the AFC Champions League from inside the penalty area. The last time they scored a goal from outside the box in the competition was in March 2014 against Buriram United.
● Since his AFC Champions League debut in March 2019, Al Hilal’s Bafétimbi Gomis has scored more goals than any other player in the AFC Champions League (17). In addition, Gomis has scored more goals in the knockout stages of the competition than anyone else since his debut (10 goals in 11 games (including scoring in the 2019 final second leg against Urawa Red Diamonds).
Overall, Gomis has scored 10 of Al Hilal’s last 23 goals in the knockout stages of the competition (43.4%).
Venue: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date: 23 November 2021
● Bafétimbi Gomis had only one touch in Al Nassr’s penalty area in Al Hilal’s semi-final clash against their local rivals – his lowest number in any AFC Champions League game. He also failed to have a single shot of any kind in a game in the competition for the first time. However, he did register his first ever assist in the competition in that game, setting up Mousa Marega for his first
AFC Champions League goal.
● Al Hilal’s Salem Al Dawsari has played 70 games in the AFC Champions League. He scored a total of seven goals in his first 60 appearances in the competition. He has since scored six goals in his last 10 games in the AFC Champions League. He has been particularly influential in the latter stages of the competition, directly involved in scoring eight goals in his last eight knockout
appearances in the competition (6 goals, 2 assists).
● Salem Al Dawsari has been directly involved in scoring four goals in his last three AFC Champions League games with Al Hilal. He has also scored in three consecutive games in the competition for the first time in his career.
● Salem Al Dawsari has completed more dribbles (129) than any other player in AFC Champions League (since Opta started to collect this data in 2013).
● Pohang’s Kang Sang-woo has made eight assists in K League 1 this season, six of them are from set pieces. However, he has failed to register a single assist in AFC Champions League despite creating nine chances, just three of them are from set pieces.
● Pohang’s Alex Grant scored his first ever AFC Champions League goal with his 89th minute header in the semi-final against Ulsan Hyundai. He has scored two goals in K League 1, both headers in the 80th and 86th minute.
● Pohang’s Lim Sang-hyub has scored 6.14 goals more than expected in K League 1 this season (10 goals from 3.86 xG, excluding penalties), the biggest positive difference in the competition. He has scored three goals from 2.06 xG in AFC Champions League.
● Pohang have lost just once in AFC Champions League this season (P9 W5 D3 L1). However, they have lost 10 of their 18 games in K League 1 since July.
● Pohang’s Shin Jin-ho has made 72.3 passes per game in K League 1 this season, the most in the competition. He also has made 78.1 passes per game in AFC Champions League, only topped by final-counterpart Al Hilal’s Abdullah Otayf (80). (* among players with at least three appearances for each competition).
● Shin Jin-ho could win back-to-back AFC Champions League titles with different clubs. He had won last season with Ulsan Hyundai. He could become only the second player to achieve this feat after his South Korean compatriot Namkung Do who won the competition with Pohang Steelers in 2009 and then against with Seongnam in 2010.