AFC Champions League specialists Urawa Red Diamonds get the job done again as they dethrone Al Hilal

Urawa Red Diamonds claimed their third AFC Champions League crown on Saturday after securing a 2-1 aggregate triumph over last season's winners Al Hilal in the 2022 final. EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

Some may call them specialists. Others will point to their pedigree.

Either way, Urawa Red Diamonds have quite the affinity with the AFC Champions League -- as they showed once again by winning the tournament for a third time on Saturday with a 2-1 aggregate triumph over defending champions Al Hilal in the final.

Having played out a 1-1 draw in Riyadh in last weekend's opening encounter, a 1-0 victory at Saitama Stadium 2002 -- courtesy of an unfortunate Andre Carrillo own-goal in the 48th minute -- was enough to see the Reds get the job done.

And they just always seem to find a way to get the job done, especially in the ACL.

It is quite remarkable that a side that has only won their domestic J1 League once in its current iteration are now three-time champions of Asia.

This is a team that has not finished higher than fifth in the J1 League in the past six seasons. Back in 2019, they even flirted with relegation before ultimately settling for a lowly 14th-place finish.

Staying in the top flight back then? Job done.

So considering they only finished 6th in the J1 League back in 2021, how did they even qualify for Asia's premier club competition this season?

Just like they did when they last reached the ACL final in 2019, by winning the Emperor's Cup. Job done.

Even in the group stage earlier this season, Urawa only advanced to the knockout round by virtue of being one of the six best-performing runner-up teams. After breezing past Johor Darul Ta'zim and BG Pathum United, the Reds then toiled to a shootout victory over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

It has not been pretty at times but the recurring theme is evident.

Urawa's propensity to accomplish the task at hand in whatever way possible has even trickled down to their individuals.

Coach Maciej Skorza, hired only last November to replace Ricardo Rodriguez, and centre-back Marius Hoibraten, brought in the shore up the defence, were not previously involved in their side's run to the final.

Their only job in the entire campaign? To get the team over the line at the final hurdle.

Likewise for veteran striker Shinzo Koroki, who perhaps best epitomises this mantra given he has had a prolific career of putting the ball into the back of the net whatever way possible.

Koroki, who was part of the side that also tasted ACL glory in 2017, spent all of last season on loan at Consadole Sapporo. Similar to Skorza and Hoibraten, his only involvement came right at the end put it did not prevent him from being a vital contributor -- with his poacher's effort last weekend the crucial goal that rescued a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Al Hilal remain ACL's most-successful side with four titles to their names even in spite of falling short this season.

Yet, the affinity they have with the tournament somehow seems intense than Urawa's considering they also enjoy plenty of success domestically as the Saudi Pro League's record 18-time champions.

For the Reds, success is the ACL.

They may be specialists and they certainly have the pedigree.

But perhaps yet another continental crown for Urawa was simply a case of being able to get the job done.