AFC Cup sets new match attendance record
Kuala Lumpur: The ever-growing appeal of the AFC Cup was underlined on Tuesday when the competition recorded its highest-ever match attendance as a record 60,157 fans witnessed Indonesia side Persija Jakarta’s impressive 4-0 victory over Johor Darul Ta'zim from Malaysia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta.
AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said the attendance for the ASEAN Zone Group H match was reflective of the continued improvements undertaken to enhance the prestige and standards of the competition.
Dato’ Windsor said: “The AFC, as envisaged in our Vision and Mission, is committed to improving the quality of our competitions for our players, fans and teams. This objective is reflected in this season’s AFC Cup with a record-breaking 44 clubs competing for the highest-ever prize money in the history of the competition.
“This record demonstrates the ever-increasing interest and wide appeal of the AFC’s competitions. I congratulate Persija Jakarta and I would also like to thank all our clubs and Member Associations for their commitment to improve the AFC Cup.
“It is particularly impressive this milestone was achieved in the group stages of the AFC Cup and I am confident, as we work closely with our Member Associations, we will continue to witness even more thrilling matches, which will engage and excite more passionate fans as the competition progresses into the knockout stages.”
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The previous match attendance record was set in the final of the 2010 AFC Cup when 58,604 fans witnessed Al Ittihad become only the second Syrian side to win the competition after narrowly defeating Kuwait’s Qadsia SC on penalties at the Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium in Kuwait City.
Tuesday’s success by Persija was especially memorable for Croatian forward Marko Simic who grabbed all four goals against JDT, the AFC Cup 2015 Champions, to propel the home side to the top of Group H. Persija now have destiny in their own hands as an away win against Tampines Rovers of Singapore, who have already been eliminated, on April 24 would secure their place in the knockout stages.