Asian Football Trivia Returns!
Kuala Lumpur: As the 2018 FIFA World Cup draws to a close, football takes a short break in the upcoming weeks until the return of the AFC Champions League, AFC Cup and domestic leagues.
So, what better time than now to kick off a new season of the-AFC.com’s Asian Football Trivia segment - our weekly question-based series that allows you, the fans, to send us your questions on anything and everything related to Asian football?
Week one begins with three tricky in-house questions, and we invite you to follow suit and send us your queries via the AFC’s social media platforms in the coming days and weeks.
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What has been the most successful shirt colour in the AFC Cup final?
In winning back-to-back AFC Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, Iraq's Air Force Club became the first blue-wearing side to win the competition's final. In the seven seasons prior to their ascension, only one side managed to win the title wearing something other than white in the final, Kuwait's Qadsia SC in 2014.
The dominance of the colour white is greatly helped by Kuwait SC's impressive run which saw them win three titles between 2009 and 2013. Bizarrely, in 2011 they lost the final to FC Nasaf after being drawn to play the final in Uzbekistan and having to wear a full red kit. That year's final winners, Nasaf wore....White!
So, here you have it. In 14 AFC Cup finals played to date, six were won by teams in white, teams in red won two finals (Syria's Al Jaish in 2004 and Bahrain's Al Muharraq in 2008). Jordan's Al Faisaly won their two titles in 2005 and 2006
If white has been the most successful shirt in AFC Cup finals, the distinction is not as clear in terms of the unluckiest colour.
Qadsia won the 2014 title in their famous yellow kit, but only after they had suffered defeat in the final on two occasions while wearing the same colour. In both occasions they lost to teams in white (Syria’s Al Ittihad in 2010 and fellow Kuwaitis Kuwait SC in 2013). Beaten finalists in 2012, Erbil round off the list of yellow-clad runners-up.
The three unfortunate sides in yellow are eclipsed by those in red; Al Muharraq lost to Al Faisaly in 2006 while donning an all-red kit, and Kuwait SC followed suit five years later in their away kit. With two final defeats in the last three years, Tajikistan’s Istiklol FC confirmed red as the unluckiest colour in AFC Cup final after losing in 2015 to Johor Darul Ta’zim and in 2017 to Air Force Club.
What’s the longest winning streak in a single AFC Champions League season?
Korea Republic’s Busan I’Park dominated their 2005 AFC Champions League group, recording six wins out of six. In the quarter-finals, they extended their winning run to eight matches by defeating Qatar’s Al Sadd 3-0 and 2-1.
Busan I’Park’s run was brought to an abrupt end at the hands of Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad who thumped them 5-0 in the first leg of the semi-final to stop their streak at eight wins, the longest in the competition until then.
Seven years later, it was another Korean side that broke their record; Ulsan Hyundai may not have got the full mark at the group stage, as they settled for draws in matchday two and three. But from there on, they went on a winning streak that took them all the way to the title.
FULL-TIME | Al Duhail SC (QAT) 4-1 Al Ain FC (UAE)!— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 15, 2018
Al Duhail make it 8⃣ wins in 8⃣ in the AFC Champions league this season as they score 8⃣ past Emirati side Al Ain! What an incredible achievement for the Qatari side!#ACL2018 #DUHvAIN pic.twitter.com/UgotTHyG7w
Victories against Brisbane Roar, Beijing Guoan and FC Tokyo in the final three games of the group booked Ulsan the top spot in the group and a date with Kashiwa Reysol in the round of 16. The Koreans won the one-legged tie before registering double wins against Al Hilal in the quarter-finals and Bunyodkor in the semis.
A 3-0 triumph in the one-legged final against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli completed a historic campaign for Ulsan who not only lifted the title but recorded an impressive nine-game winning streak that remains to date the longest in a single AFC Champions League season.
By the end of September, this question could well have a different answer as Al Duhail currently stand at eight wins in a row. A full mark in the group stage was followed by emphatic wins in both legs of the round of 16 against Al Ain. Should the Qatari champions record a double against Persepolis in the quarter-finals, they would pip Ulsan with a new record of ten consecutive wins. Even more reason to be excited for the quarter-finals!
What’s the fastest goal ever scored in the AFC Asian Cup?
There have only been three goals scored inside the first minute of an AFC Asian Cup match; Kuwait’s Fathi Kameel scored a stunning volley within 20 seconds of kick-off against China PR in the 1976 AFC Asian Cup played in Iran. His goal was the difference on the night and one of three strikes that crowned Kameel the 1976 AFC Asian Cup joint top goalscorer.
Kameel’s record remained intact for 16 years until China PR legend Xie Yuxin equalled it in the 1992 edition. China PR faced hosts Japan in the semi-final and Xie found the back of the net after 20 seconds. Despite the early goal, China PR were beaten 3-2 by the eventual winners as they settled for Bronze.
The 20-seconds-barrier was final broken in 2015 when UAE’s Ali Mabkhout opened the scoring for the Whites in their 2-1 group stage victory over Bahrain after just 14 seconds.
Even though Bahrain kicked-off the match, the UAE could still find a quick break after Ahmed Khalil applied pressure on the Bahraini defence to recover the ball and lay it off to Omar Abdulrahman. The playmaker sent a sublime overhead pass to Mabkhout who sneaked into the space behind the defence, calmly controlled the ball and finished with his left to record the fastest goal in the AFC Asian Cup history.
Just like Kameel in 1976, Mabkhout went on to become the tournament’s top goal scorer. A tip for strikers chasing the record in 2019; the early bird gets the…award!
Next week, we'll turn it over to you to test us. Our team are looking forward to receiving your Asian Football Trivia teasers!
Photo: Lagardère Sports
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