The AFC Champions League Explained
The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League or known in short as ACL is a continental competition involving more than 32 popular Football clubs in Asia. This was first introduced in 2002 as a progeny of the famed Asian Club Championship (ACC) (1967).
What is most interesting about the ACL is that it gathers only clubs that are born from well-established leagues in Asia. These leagues could either be supported or attended by global participants. By all means, the AFC Champions League is inclusive of such a matter.
Here’s how the AFC Champions League tournament is placed in:
- Presentation of 32 Participating Teams
- This stage presents the group stage consisting of 32 participating teams. These teams are assessed by a board of impartial sports members before narrowed for further divisions.
- Division Phase
- Here is where the 32 teams are narrowed down into matching 8 groups.
- Seeding Process
- To draw among the groups such that no two teams of the same country make it in one group, seeding is initiated. Seeding involves a bigger committee that tallies the membership figures and the playing numbers they are in.
- Presentation of the Two Zones
- The 8-group stage is further narrowed down into two major zones– East Asian groups and the West Asian groups. Each of the two zones behold four members.
- Round-Robin System
- Each team from the two zones meet up for the first match via a round-robin system. The runner-ups produced from this phase will then proceed to the next round.
- Winners’ Match
- At this point, the winning team matches-up with the runner-up team.
- Optional Application of the Away Goals Rule
- In the event that the combined score achieved within the two games happened to be done after the 180-minute closure, then the team that scored more inside its opponent’s space took the lead.
The AFC Champions League competition runs January to November. And, in the past many years, it has fired up several historical paths in Asian sports.
Here are some notable episodes:
- The Emergence of the 5 ACL Final Icons 5 ACL Final Icons (2002-2019): Elkeson (Guangzhou Evergrande) Mohammed Noor (Al Ittihad), Ante Covic (Western Sydndey Wanderers), Salem Johar (Al Ain), and Yuichiro Nagai (Urawa Red Diamonds)
- Hong Kong Representation by Kitchee in 2018
- Japan’s Urawa Red Dragon’s Lead in 2018
- Sydney’s Falter at a 10-man Draw with Jeonbuk on 2020
- Australia’s Refusal to Host Chinese Clubs in 2020