Now for player of the year, says Ulsan star

Man-of-the-match Lee Keun-Ho is hoping his heroics in Ulsan Hyundai's AFC Champions League win will be enough to see him crowned Asian player of the year.

The South Korean international winger did not score in Saturday's emphatic 3-0 victory over Saudi side Al Ahli, but he was the key component as Ulsan completed a run of nine consecutive wins to lift the trophy for the first time.

Lee's man of the match award also gives him valuable points towards a short-listing for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Asian player of the year prize, which will be handed out in Kuala Lumpur later this month.

"I can't express how happy I am," said Lee. "I have no words to describe how happy I am. I am so happy that I am able to give a present to the coach, Kim Ho-Gon.

"I won the MVP (most valuable player) award which I did not expect. This is the biggest individual prize of my career and now I want to become AFC player of the year."

Saturday's victory, thanks to goals from Kwak Tae-Hwi, Rafinha and Kim Seung-Yong, ensured Ulsan went through the entire tournament unbeaten.

Lee, who joined Ulsan from Japan's Gamba Osaka this season, had scored in the three games before the final and also grabbed the crucial late winner against Kashiwa Reysol in the round of 16.

But it was the second leg of their quarter-final with another Saudi team, Al Hilal, that Lee said ignited Ulsan's charge to the championship. Ulsan won the away leg 4-0, with Lee scoring the third goal.

"The quarter-finals were the most important for us as we only managed to win the first game 1-0," he said.

"We didn't play very well even though it was a home game, but in the away game we were able to score four goals and that gave us a lot of confidence when we got to the final.

"It was the first time for us to play in front of such a crowd and it was such a big boost for the players."

Lee was also looking forward to returning to Japan for next month's Club World Cup -- as long as he can delay the start of his compulsory military service.

"I left Japan last year and the coach asked me to come to Ulsan and there is a great atmosphere within the club," said Lee, who spent three seasons in Japan's J-League.

"I think I can play in the FIFA Club World Cup as I think I can delay my army service."

Ulsan's coach Kim Ho-Gon called the win his "happiest time", while Al Ahli boss Karel Jarolim admitted that the South Korean side deserved the trophy.

"Most of the players did their best but Ulsan are strong and they deserved to win. This is football," said the Czech.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options