Kuala Lumpur: Persija Jakarta and Johor Darul Ta'zim are through to the final of the Search for Asia's Most Popular Football Club after finishing as the two highest ranked teams in the ASEAN poll.
Indonesia's Persija Jakarta received 32.5% of the total votes cast while Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim garnered 29%.
They join Islamic Republic of Iran clubs Tractor SC and Persepolis FC, who finished top two in the combined Central & South Asia poll, in the final. Also through to the final are China PR's Shanghai Shenhua and Korea Republic's Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who topped the East Asia poll.
The poll for the West region ends on Saturday with the final kicking off on Sunday.
Check out the ASEAN nominees and results below.
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Founded in 1928 and 11-time league champions, Persija Jakarta are perhaps equally as well-known outside Indonesia for the exceptional atmosphere created by their fervent fanbase.
Known as “The Jakmania”, Persija’s fans famously support their club in massive numbers, packing the vast Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, and setting a new attendance record for the AFC Cup with a 62,198 turnout for a match against Singapore’s Home United in 2018.
While Persija Jakarta prevailed in our search for Indonesia’s most popular club back in August, their rivals Persib were a close second, and the club can boast a fanbase in the millions.
Seven-time league champions with their most recent title coming in 2014, Persib are one of the most followed clubs in the world when it comes to social media. They have just shy of 10 million fans on Facebook, and another 4.4 million on Instagram.
Johor Darul Ta’zim FC
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
The undoubted on-field kings of modern Malaysian football, JDT have won the last seven Super League titles in a decade which has also featured two Malaysia Cups, one FA Cup and most notably the 2015 AFC Cup - becoming the first Malaysian side to win a continental title.
They have built a fanbase, and a state-of-the-art stadium, to match, winning our August search for Malaysia’s most popular football club with 34 percent of the total votes.
Founded nearly 100 years ago and having won the first of their eight Malaysia Cups back in 1926, Perak’s long and proud history has seen them evolve into one of the country’s most widely supported teams.
While the club's average home attendance has been lower than the likes of Kedah and Pahang in recent years, Perak finished second in our search for Malaysia's most popular club back in August.
The contemporary powerhouse of a football-mad country, Hanoi FC are only 14 years old, but five V.League 1 titles, including four since 2016 underline their exceptional success as a football club, which also saw them fall just one goal short of reaching the 2019 AFC CupfFinal.
The club missed out on the league title this season but, with eight players in the most recent national team squad coming from Hanoi FC, they remain at the forefront of the Vietnamese football scene.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC
Second to Hanoi in our October poll aimed at finding the most popular club in Vietnam was Hoang Anh Gia Lai, who can claim to be one of the country’s best supported teams despite minimal recent success, and their base in the relatively small city of Pleiku.
Founded in 2001, Hoang Anh were V.League champions in 2003 and 2004, twice appearing in the AFC Champions League group stage as a result, but success has largely eluded them since. They club have recently appointed legendary Thai striker Kiatisuk Senamuang, a former Hoang Anh player, as head coach.
Spend any significant amount of time in Thailand and you are almost certain to see at least one person wearing the shirt of Buriram United, with fans also flocking to the club’s “Thunder Castle” season after season in Thai League 1.
A success story on and off the pitch, Buriram have won seven league titles and a total of 21 domestic trophies since 2008 and have twice reached the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League, making them one of the strongest football clubs anywhere in Southeast Asia.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Drawing on the populous western suburbs of Sydney, the Wanderers quickly became one of Australia’s best supported clubs when they were formed in 2012, regularly filling Parramatta Stadium, and going on to set an A-League crowd record with 61,860 fans in the stands at Stadium Australia for a derby match against Sydney FC in 2016.
They also have something no other club on this list can boast, winning the AFC Champions League title at the first attempt back in 2014 and going on to represent Asia at the FIFA Club World Cup after beating Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal SFC 1-0 over two legs in the final.
Representing Indonesia’s second-largest city, and with the support to match, Persebaya Surabaya’s big-club credentials are backed up by 93 years of history, a 45,000-capacity home ground and a second-placed finish in the last completed Liga 1 season.
Persebaya were Indonesia’s highest-drawing club in the 2018 league season, attracting an average of 28,543 fans per match, with their home, Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium, set to feature in the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Rounding out our list are Arema, another East Java club who earned an impressive 12 percent of the total votes in our search for Indonesia’s most popular club back in August.
Arema have featured in the AFC Champions League group stage on three occasions and were one of six Liga 1 clubs to attract in excess of 240,000 fans during the completed 2019 campaign, in which they finished ninth on the league table.
Note: Fans can vote once a day for the duration of the poll. Poll ends at 12:00 (UTC+8) on December 25.
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