Jeonbuk hero Leonardo gives thanks to fans

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Leonardo scored twice in the win.

Leonardo, 30, made it successive braces in home legs of the competition as his stunning 20-yard curler and composed penalty earned a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Al Ain.

The first-leg of the decider was played at a deafening Jeonju World Cup Stadium, which featured thousands of green flags and incessant chanting. Such a vivid setting had an effect on the Brazilian ahead of next Saturday’s return clash at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

“I’ve been here four years and when I scored I wanted to show all the players, staff and fans that we are all together,” Leonardo told the AFC website.

“To show this mentality, I patted the emblem of the jersey. The fans were incredible and I feel quite emotional to experience this final with 40,000 people who came out on a cold night to support us. I hope some will come to Al Ain too, to hopefully celebrate victory with us and come back with the trophy.”

The ex-Brazil youth international’s first goal showcased his sharp intelligence, quick feet and lethal shooting ability as he earned valuable space before lashing in the equaliser.

“I expected today’s match to be hard and Al Ain put in a really good performance,” added Leonardo.

“At half-time all the players talked with each other – we said we needed to concentrate and be more organised.

“All the Al Ain players prepared well against me but, despite this, I’m willing to play intelligently. Depending on how they play, I’ll choose to dribble or shoot.”

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