Bishkek: As a unique 2020 domestic football season draws to a close, the-AFC.com looks at some of the best supported clubs in the Central Asian region.
Long before their participation in Asian competition, clubs from Central Asia had developed a proud and passionate football culture. Clubs from the region played, and regularly beat, some of the most famous names in Soviet football, and the tradition has continued with some of the continent’s outstanding players emerging from the region.
But which club stirs the passion like no other? Taking into consideration factors such as on-field success and off-field interest, we have selected 10 clubs from four nations. It is now up to you to vote for your favourite club.
Thongaum proud of Chiangrai United's AFC Champions League exploits despite Melbourne Victory draw
Doha: Chiangrai United head coach Alongkorn Thongaum reflected on a promising maiden AFC Champions League campaign as the Thai club were officially eliminated from Group E with a 2-2 draw against Melbourne Victory on Monday.
A second-half revival saw Chiangrai United claw back Melbourne Victory’s two-goal lead as Siwakorn Tiatrakul’s free-kick and Gionata Verzura’s tidy finish cancelled out Jake Brimmer’s spot-kick and Ben Folami’s lob for the Australians.
Despite a late avalanche of attacks, the AFC Champions League debutants could not find a winner to sustain their challenge for a Round of 16 berth and had to make do with a 2-2 draw to reach four points.
Seriousness key to AFC Champions League win over FC Seoul, says Beijing FC's Genesio
Doha: Beijing FC’s head coach Bruno Genesio believes his side’s serious approach was key to picking up their fifth win on the bounce in the 2020 AFC Champions League as they beat FC Seoul 3-1 in Group E on Monday.
Goals from Jonathan Viera, Renato Augusto and Zhang Yuning were only replied by Yun Ju-tae’s late strike as the two sides played out an exciting match with plenty of chances at both ends.
Preparation the secret behind Ulsan Hyundai’s late AFC Champions League shows, says Kim
Doha: Ulsan Hyundai head coach Kim Do-hoon has lauded his team’s professional preparation as the key reason for their continuing late heroics at the 2020 AFC Champions League, where they confirmed their progression to the Round of 16 on Tuesday.
The Korea Republic side came from behind to beat FC Tokyo 2-1, installing themselves as guaranteed Group F winners with a game to spare thanks to a spectacular brace from Yoon Bit-garam, who supplied the winning goal with five minutes remaining.
Guangzhou Evergrande and Suwon Samsung Bluewings lock horns in do-or-die Group G battle
Doha: Guangzhou Evergrande face their ultimate test in pursuit of a place in the 2020 AFC Champions League (East) Round of 16 when they take on Suwon Samsung Bluewings at Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.
With Vissel Kobe having secured their place in the next round a week earlier, the two sides know their second head-to-head clash will be vital for their chances of staying in Doha beyond the group stage.
And while Suwon Samsung Bluewings still have a game against Group G leaders Vissel Kobe three days later, meaning a draw on Tuesday still keeps their hopes alive and in their own hands, Guangzhou Evergrande know any result other than the three points leaves their fate at the mercy of the Korean side.
Yokohama F. Marinos look to seal AFC Champions League knockout stage place against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Doha: Yokohama F. Marinos will have two chances to book their ticket to the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16, but head coach Ange Postecoglou is eager to ensure that only one is required when they face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Tuesday.
Joint group leaders alongside Shanghai SIPG on nine points, the 2019 J1 League champions hold a handsome five-point advantage on third-placed Jeonbuk, meaning their progression will be secure even with a draw at the Al Janoub Stadium.
But head coach Angle Postecoglou has never been known to approach games looking for any other than three points, and the former Australia boss declared he was excited about the 90 minutes ahead.
Shanghai SIPG looking to continue AFC Champions League momentum against Sydney FC
Doha: Shanghai SIPG boss Vitor Perreira is looking for a continuation of the form which has his side within one win of the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 when they face Australia’s Sydney FC on Tuesday.
The Chinese side stand on the brink of the knockout stage after accruing nine points, with third-placed Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who are five points further back, the only team who can still change the Group H qualification make-up.
Shanghai SIPG have it all to play for at Al Janoub Stadium, but Sydney FC will be competing for pride only after suffering back to back defeats in their two prior outings in Doha, and Pereira is eager to ensure his side don’t fall victim to an upset.