Travelling support inspired us, says Koroki

Published on: 27 June 2019

Ulsan: Two-goal hero Shinzo Koroki hailed the Urawa Red Diamonds fans who travelled to Korea Republic from Japan to witness their side's stunning 3-0 win over Ulsan Hyundai that ensured a 4-2 aggregate win and a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals. 

Down 2-1 from the first leg in Saitama Stadium, Urawa looked to face a tough task at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium where their hosts were yet to concede in the 2019 tournament and had won five in a row on the continent.

Moreover, Urawa hadn't won a knockout round match away from home since their first title-winning campaign in 2007.

Both records ended in spectacular fashion on a rainy Wednesday night. Koroki scored a goal in each half before Brazilian midfielder Ewerton secured their victory with a goal three minutes from time.

"A lot of people came from far away to give us their support and watched in very wet weather," said Koroki, who now has five goals in this year's AFC Champions League.

"I really wanted to give them the gift of victory today as thanks for all their efforts and I am glad that we were able to do that.

"It was a very tough game, but I am glad that we were able to score the third goal at exactly the right time. It helped settled the tie."

Urawa will now appear in their fourth AFC Champions League quarter-finals with two of those previous campaigns (2017 and 2007) ending in the Saitama side lifting the title.

Koroki, however, admitted there is still a long road ahead before the J.League giants can consider a third Asian club championship.

"There will be a lot of tough games still to come for us on both the domestic and continental fronts," he said, with Urawa set to travel to Oita Trinita for Sunday's J.League fixture.

"I will make sure I rest and recover well so that I am fully prepared for all the challenges to come."