Kuala Lumpur: Despite only joining the AFC Champions League in 2007, Australian players, and clubs from the A-League, have already left a memorable impact on the Continental competition. We cast the spotlight on five of those who have written their name into the tournament's history.
When it comes to Australian success in the AFC Champions League, Adelaide United (finalists in 2008) and Western Sydney Wanderers (champions in 2014) are the two stand-outs and it is unsurprising that players from these two sides feature heavily in our candidates for greatest Aussie ACL legend.
However, it was in fact at a Korean side, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, where one man from Down Under arguably had the biggest impact of the lot. Review and remember this five-star selection and vote for your favourite in the poll at the foot of the article.
Veteran Al Mutawa eager to rewrite Kuwaiti history
Kuwait City: Kuwaiti people remain proud that their national team led the way in putting Arabic football on the map in Asia, first by winning the 1980 AFC Asian Cup and then by securing a place at the FIFA World Cup Spain 1982 thanks to a golden generation of players who left a tremendous legacy for future generations.
Four decades after that historic World Cup participation, Kuwait are more determined than ever to revive those past glories.
Asian Classics: IR Iran vs Australia (1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers)
Kuala Lumpur: In late 1997, Valdeir ‘Badu’ Vieira took charge of Islamic Republic of Iran for just three games and by the end of the Brazilian’s brief tenure, millions of fans had poured onto the streets of Tehran to celebrate Team Melli securing a place at their first FIFA World Cup Finals in 20 years.
The focal point of Iran’s qualification for France 98 has often been the climax against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the 2-2 draw that broke Australian hearts, when goals from Karim Bagheri and Khodadad Azizi earned the Iranians a 3-3 aggregate tie and a ticket for the FIFA World Cup on the away goals rule.
But a little less than three weeks earlier the former Costa Rica coach jumped aboard the Team Melli rollercoaster for a ride he and football fans around Asia would never forget.
Sabitha Bhandari's journey from barefoot dreamer to Nepal dazzler
Kathmandu: Sabitra Bhandari has, at the age of 23, realised her childhood ambitions. And then some.
Years back, the youngster, from a small village in the Lamjung District of Nepal, used to play football barefoot with neighbouring boys. The ball they played with was made of socks, but it didn’t stop her dreaming big. She wanted to become a teammate of then Nepal women’s stars Anu Lama and Jamuna Gurung.
Now Bhandari is an established member of the Nepali Chelis alongside her idols. Furthermore, she has eclipsed them in accomplishment terms. Bhandari, who turned 23 last month, is Nepal's all-time leading markswoman with 34 goals from 38 internationals.
East Asia & ASEAN Wrap: Jeonbuk suffer first defeat
Kuala Lumpur: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors dropped their first points of the 2020 K League season after defeat to Gangwon but remain top of the standings after second-placed Ulsan Hyundai were held in a weekend of upsets in Korea Republic.
In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City FC needed penalties to navigate the second round of the Vietnamese Cup, but there were few problems for Hanoi FC with the defending champions breezing into the quarter-finals as football in the Southeast Asian country gathers momentum ahead of the V.League's resumption on Friday.
Elsewhere, there were vital wins for the Japanese contingent in Germany's Bundesliga and a goal for a famous Chinese name in Serbia, so join the-AFC.com as we review the latest from East Asia and ASEAN.