AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: 10 FACTS AND FIGURES
The decisive second-leg of the 2016 AFC Champions League final is just a few days away, so join the-AFC.com as we look at the 10 facts and figures you should know before Saturday's clash between Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates and Korea Republic's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
1. By reaching the AFC Champions League final Jeonbuk (2016, 2011, 2006) and Al Ain (2016, 2005, 2002-2003) join Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia (2004, 2005, 2009) as the clubs to make the most appearances in the continental climax. All three sides have appeared in the current AFC Champions League era's final three times.
2. Al Ain, who trail 2-1 after the meeting at Jeonju World Cup Stadium, last Saturday, will need to buck the AFC Champions records book and become just the second team to recover from a first leg deficit after Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad did so at 2004 final.
3. Jeonbuk also has the advantage in previous meetings. The two sides have met just once in the AFC Champions League at the quarter-finals of the 2004 edition where the Koreans triumphed 5-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 win in Al Ain was followed up by a comprehensive 4-1 victory in Jeonju.
4. Jeonbuk tactician Choi Kang-hee could become the first coach in the AFC Champions League era to win the Asian club title twice, having lifted the trophy in 2006. He would be the sixth coach to do the “continental double” since competitions began in 1967.
5. When playing their counterparts from the West, the K League Classic side have an AFC Champions League record of played 12, won seven, drawn one, and lost four record. Their most notable defeat to the West Asian opposition came on penalties in 2011 final against Al Sadd....
6. For Al Ain, their AFC Champions League record against teams from the East stands at played nine, won three, drawn one and lost five. Their most significant victory came over Thailand’s BEC Tero Sasana in the inaugural final....
7. Jeonbuk striker Lee Dong-gook is the all-time leading goal scorer in the AFC Champions League having netted 32 times from 56 matches. The “Lion King” has netted five goals from seven starts and four substitute appearances in this year’s campaign.
8. East Asia has dominated the trophy in the AFC Champions League era. Since the inaugural 2002-03 tournament, clubs from the East have been crowned Asian champions nine times while those from the West have claimed four continental titles.
9. Al Ain star Omar Abdulrahman has been nominated for the 2016 AFC Player of the Year award. Three AFC Player of the Year winners have lifted the AFC Champions League trophy the same year they earned the prestigious individual accolade. They are: Al Ittihad’s Hamad Al Montashari in 2005, Ulsan Hyundai’s Lee Keun-ho in 2012 and Guangzhou Evergrande’s Zheng Zhi (pictured above) in 2013.
10. The youngest person who could appear in the 2016 AFC Champions League final is UAE U-19 forward Mohamed Khalfan who turned 18-years-old in August. The oldest player is nearly 20 years his senior, Jeonbuk veteran Lee Dong-gook who turns 38 next April.
Photos: Lagardère Sports