Sunday , February 25 2024

Only one Southeast Asian club advance in AFC Champions League

A club from Thailand are the only Southeast Asian squad to have survived the AFC Champions League group stage this season.

There were eight Southeast Asian (SEA) teams from five members of the ASEAN Football Federation that qualified for the AFC Champions League (ACL) group stage this year.

Thailand sent three teams, more than any other country.

The SEA clubs were Hanoi FC (Vietnam), Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia), Kaya–Iloilo (Philippines), Lion City Sailors (Singapore), Bangkok United, Buriram United and BG Pathum United (Thailand) and Melbourne City (Australia).

The ACL group stage concluded Wednesday and only one club from Southeast Asia moved onto the next round: Bangkok United.

The Thai club performed excellently, surpassing South Korea’s most successful club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, to finish first in group F with 12 points.

After six group stage matches, Lion City Sailors (six points) finished third in group F, Kaya–Iloilo (zero points) finished last in group G, Buriram United (six points) last in group H, Johor Darul Ta’zim (nine points) third in group I, BG Pathum United (zero points) last in group I, Melbourne City (seven points) second in group H and Hanoi (six points) third in group J. These clubs all had to exit the tournament early.

South Korea demonstrated the most impressive performance from East Asia, with three out of four clubs advancing from the group stage – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers. The only South Korean club that were eliminated were Incheon United with 12 points.

Two Japanese teams Yokohama F. Marinos and Ventforet Kofu advanced, while Shandong Taishan were the only Chinese team to pass the group stage.

Title-holders Urawa, considered the strongest club in Japan, were eliminated after a shocking 1-2 loss to Vietnam’s Hanoi FC last week.

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