Al Ahli top scorer Victor Simoes is hoping inside knowledge of Ulsan Hyundai’s central defensive partnership will prove crucial as the Brazilian striker seeks to add to his seven AFC Champions League goals in Saturday’s final.
Simoes, who netted the winner in Al Ahli’s semi-final success over fellow Saudi League side Al Ittihad last month, played alongside Ulsan centre-backs Kwak Tae-hwi and Kang Min-soo during a season long spell in the K-League with Chunnam Dragons in 2008.
And with the pair forming a key part to an Ulsan defence which has conceded just two goals in their last four games in the AFC Champions League, Simoes is well aware of the task he and his Al Ahli team-mates face on Saturday.
“I know the two central defenders from Ulsan very well. When I played in Korea they were my defenders so I know them very well,” said Simoes on Thursday from Al Ahli’s training base in Ulsan which was used as Turkey’s home during the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
“I know they play hard but I hope we can do something to score and win the match and become champions.”
Simoes scored five times as Al Ahli qualified for the quarter-finals which included the extra-time equaliser and decisive penalty in the shootout as Al Ahli edged out UAE Pro League side Al Jazira in the Round of 16.
He then added to his tally with the opening goal in the 4-1 quarter-final second leg victory over Iran champions Sepahan before sealing Al Ahli’s place in the final with the crucial second against local rivals Al Ittihad in the second leg of their semi-final as Karel Jarolim’s side won the return fixture 2-0 to advance 2-1 on aggregate.
“I feel very good and I am confident and I am very excited ahead of the final,” added the 31-year-old, who was the joint top scorer in the Saudi League last season with 21 goals as Al Ahli finished second.
“I am very happy that I have so far been able to help my team with my goals. I am now also 100% fit as before I was a little injured and I was not able to give my best, but now I am fit.”