The AFC Cup Final: 2010-2012
Kuala Lumpur: As the clock ticks down towards the 2019 AFC Cup Final between DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC and Al Ahed of Lebanon on November 2, the-AFC.com continues its look back at finals gone by.
In the latest edition, we turn our attention to the years from 2010 to 2012 when some of the most notable moments in the tournament’s history took place.
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2010 – Penalty Decider
The seventh edition of the AFC Cup saw Qatar join the line-up for the first time as 31 teams were split into eight groups, but Al Rayyan exited in the Round of 16 after defeat to Thailand’s Muangthong United.
And although holders Kuwait SC were also eliminated in the Round of 16, it was again Syria versus Kuwait in the final as Al Ittihad – who ousted the defending champions – faced Qadsia SC. The sides had previously met in the group stage, with Qadsia taking four points from the two games.
A then record 58,604 spectators descended on Kuwait City’s Jaber Al Hamad International Stadium, where Hamad Al Enezi’s first-half goal for hosts Qadsia was cancelled out by Taha Dyab’s leveler shortly after the interval.
With nothing to separate the sides thereafter, the AFC Cup would be decided from the spot for the first time. Fahad Al Ansari and Syrian Firas Al Khatib missed for Qadsia as Al Ittihad’s four successful spot kicks from four saw the Aleppo club claim glory.
There were standout performers for both finalists but for knockout round consistency, Qadsia’s Al Enezi scoops the accolade.
His Round of 16 brace saw off India’s Churchill Brothers, before he scored in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and again in the final, only to end up as an unlucky runner-up.
Did You Know?
Former Brazil international Afonso Alves finished as the 2010 AFC Cup top scorer after netting nine times for Al Rayyan.
Alves had previously finished as the leading marksman in the Netherlands’ Eredivisie for SC Heerenveen as well as appeared in England’s Premier League for Middlesbrough.
2011 – Central Asia Rises
Defending champions Al Ittihad fell in the group stage but 2009 winners Kuwait SC returned to the fore by progressing all the way to the final, where they would meet Uzbekistan’s Nasaf in the Uzbek city of Qarshi.
The game marked the first time the AFC Cup Final was played outside of West Asia and, after a scoreless first half, Ilkhom Shomurodov opened the scoring for the hosts from close in just after the hour.
Latvian Andrejs Pereplotkins flicked home a delightful second soon after and, although Boris Kabi pulled one back to set up an enthralling finale, it was the home support who went home happy after Nasaf became Uzbekistan’s first Continental champion.
He may not have registered in the final, but Montenegrin Ivan Boskovic scored decisive goals for Nasaf in narrow wins over Thailand’s Chonburi FC and Jordan’s Al Wehdat in the quarter- and semi-finals respectively.
The striker also posted a four-goal haul in a 9-0 group stage win over India’s Dempo – then an AFC Cup record victory – and finished as the tournament’s top scorer on 10 goals.
Did You Know?
The Philippines’ Ceres Negros finally equaled Nasaf’s 9-0 victory by seeing off Cambodia’s Boeung Ket FC in 2018 and Hanoi FC surpassed it with a 10-0 win over another Cambodian team, Naga World, this year.
But the 30 goals the Uzbeks scored in the group stage, and their total of 37 in the competition, remain AFC Cup records that have yet to be overhauled.
2012 – Kuwait Back On The Podium
Nasaf did not defend their title as they were entered into the 2012 AFC Champions League while Saudi Arabia and Myanmar had their first entrants in the Continental competition.
Saudi club Al Ettifaq made it to the semi-finals but were ousted by Kuwait SC, who faced Iraq’s Erbil in the final after they stormed past Chonburi FC in the semi-finals.
Franso Hariri Stadium in northern Iraq was the setting for showpiece event, but the game did not go as the majority of the 22,000 in attendance would have hoped for.
Chadi Hammami struck early for the visitors and Rogerinho made it 2-0 by half-time, before late goals by Abdulhadi Khamis and Hammami completed a 4-0 win to secure a second title for the Kuwaitis.
Any number of players could stake their claim but two goals in the final – including one in the third minute to silence the home support – marks Chadi Hammani’s contribution out as key.
The Tunisian also netted in the quarter- and semi-finals, although the tournament’s joint-top scorer Amjad Radhi – who would go on to win three AFC Cups with Air Force Club – also deserves a mention.
Did You Know?
One of Asia’s finest strikers of the past decade, Omar Al Soma, was on the scoresheet for Qadsia SC in the group stage and last 16.
The Syrian netted three in total before elimination to Kuwait SC, after which he departed for Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, where he continues to score for fun to this day.
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