For those that aren’t overly familiar with the AFC Champions League, it is the crown jewel of domestic soccer in Asia.
Of course, this tournament consists of teams from all over the region, yet just two teams from Australia’s A-League can directly qualify for the event each year. There is a third spot up for grabs too, but this is a playoff position and not a direct qualification. As large as this event is, it hasn’t always been the most successful as far as Australian soccer is concerned.
But with that said, we can still highlight some of the main statistics for Australian based teams and players. Some of these statistics might surprise you, but either way, we are confident that this post will be educational for all readers. So with that said, let’s get started with the very first statistic for Australian soccer interests.
As we did say, the AFC Champions League hasn’t always been too kind to Australian based teams. In fact, the only A-League team to ever taste victory in this event is the Western Sydney Warriors. This victory came back in 2014, and to this day, there are probably many soccer fans in Australia that are still bewildered as to how this happened. It would be an understatement to say that these guys weren’t the favorites going into the event, but with true Aussie grit and passion, they won the title.
And for those that bet on sport, particularly for those that backed the Western Sydney Warriors back then, this must’ve been quite a shock, in a very positive way. To go along with that, it was probably quite a relief for Aussie soccer fans overall, as they hadn’t even got near the trophy for many years. On that note, while one team has this great record, there is another team that has a record in a not so positive way. This is identified in the next section.
Not all records are positive ones, especially if you are an Adelaide United fan. A long-standing record as far as Aussie soccer teams go is this one – Adelaide United being the one and only team to ever make the final and lose. Although some would view this as a positive since they actually made the final in the first place, there are many that claim the team ‘bottled’ the title, especially with the way that they were competing back in 2008.
Since 2008, the AFC Champions League has been rather grim for Adelaide United fans. The best performance since that famous year has been a quarter-final appearance back in 2012, and they have not reached this stage in the years since. We are sure that Adelaide fans still dream about that match to this day, but unfortunately, this dream has not made an appearance again in real life.
As we identified in the introduction, to compete in the AFC Champions League you have to earn the right by qualifying in the A-League. Just to reiterate, the top two teams in the A-League will always qualify, and the third team gets a shot to compete in the tournament through the playoffs. While this is the standard qualifying structure, there is one team that has made it to the AFC Champions League more times than any other and have therefore competed in the most games for this event.
This team is Melbourne Victory, as they have competed in a total of 53 AFC Champions League matches, at the time of writing. With that said, it’s not like they have had the greatest of success in the tournament, as they have lost almost half of these games. But then again, it is still a credit to the club that they have managed to qualify and compete so many times, so that cannot be taken away from them.
Speaking of AFC Champions League success, there is a certain A-League team that has had more of a love affair with this tournament than any others. And would you know it, the team that has racked up the most points over the years is Adelaide United. They have put 64 points on the board for all matches in this competition, and the only other team to come close is Melbourne Victory with 60 points. This shows that Adelaide United has managed to figure out ways to win on the big stage more than any other team.
The only problem with this record is that Adelaide United doesn’t seem to perform all that well beyond the group stages, with the exception of 2008 and 2012. This is something that the fans will definitely be monitoring, and they will no doubt be hoping for a change in fortune for future AFC Champions League events.
The AFC Champions League is obviously an exciting event for all teams based in Asia, yet the Aussie teams do need to start competing a little better to really cause a threat for the title. With that said, if interest in the A-League continues to grow, and therefore more players become drawn to the teams involved in this league, we could see some considerable changes in the near future. Although this is speculation, the signs are looking promising, so this is a space we will be watching closely.