Abu Dhabi: Jeonbuk Motors forward Lee Dong-guk needs no extra motivation for Saturday’s second leg of the AFC Champions League (ACL) final against Al Ain. At 37, he knows this could the last time he plays for the region’s top club prize.
The Korean side hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg after two goals in seven minutes from Leonardo saw them come from behind to win at Jeonju World Cup Stadium last weekend.
Lee, who won the tournament’s predecessor with Pohang in 1998, joined Jeonbuk in 2009 and had the chance to win the ACL two years later on home soil but lost a one-off final to Qatar’s Al Saad on penalties.
Lee was that tournament’s top scorer and MVP but said winning individual honours would mean nothing at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday if Jeonbuk did not lift the cup.
“Young players will have many opportunities to win this title but not me,” he was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency. “I’m preparing for the match as if it’s my last chance to win the ACL title.
“My personal goal scoring record is important, but if I can just score for my team in the final, it will be very meaningful.” Manager Choi Kang-hee, who led Jeonbuk to AFC glory in 2006 and is currently on his second stint with Jeonbuk, has mostly used Lee as a substitute in recent matches, favouring Kim Shin-wook over the former Weder Bremen and Middlesbrough player.
“I don’t know whether I will start in the first half or play in the second half ... If we can just win the title, I don’t care if I just play for a short time,” added Lee.