2013 AFC Champions League Final
|Event||2013 AFC Champions League|
Guangzhou Evergrande won on away goals
|Date||26 October 2013|
|Venue||Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul|
|AFC Man of the Match||Dejan Damjanović|
|Fans' Man of the Match||Sergio Escudero|
|Referee||Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)|
9 °C (48 °F)
|Date||9 November 2013|
|Venue||Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou|
|AFC Man of the Match||Darío Conca|
|Fans' Man of the Match||Zheng Zhi|
|Referee||Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)|
26 °C (79 °F)
The 2013 AFC Champions League Final was the final of the 2013 AFC Champions League, the 32nd edition of the top-level Asian club football tournament organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and the 11th under the current AFC Champions League title.
The final contested in two-legged home-and-away format between FC Seoul of South Korea and Guangzhou Evergrande of China. The first leg was hosted by FC Seoul at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on 26 October 2013, while the second leg was hosted by Guangzhou Evergrande at the Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou on 9 November 2013. The winner earned the right to represent the AFC at the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, entering at the quarterfinal stage.
The first leg ended with a 2–2 draw with goals coming from Sergio Escudero and Dejan Damjanović for FC Seoul, and Elkeson and Gao Lin for Guangzhou Evergrande. The second leg ended with a 1–1 draw with goals coming from Elkeson for Guangzhou Evergrande, and Dejan Damjanović for FC Seoul. This was enough for Guangzhou Evergrande to be crowned as champion of the competition for the first time on the away goals rule.
After the 2012 AFC Champions League Final took place at the home of one of the finalists, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that next year's competition final would be held at the home of both finalists. It was the second time since 2008 that AFC adopted such an arrangement.
FC Seoul's home venue, Seoul World Cup Stadium, is a 66,806 seated stadium located in the capital city of Seoul. It is also the home ground of the Korea Republic national football team, and was the opening venue of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. It is the third largest soccer stadium in Asia after Azadi Stadium and Salt Lake Stadium.
Guangzhou Evergrande's home venue, Tianhe Stadium, is a 58,500 seated stadium located in the city of Guangzhou. It hosted the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup and the football matches of the 2010 Asian Games.
In the history of the competition, five finals were held in South Korea and this final was the first one that Seoul hosted. The first final hosted by a Korean city was occurred in 2000–01 season, when Suwon Samsung Bluewings defeated Japanese side Júbilo Iwata 1–0 in Suwon World Cup Stadium located in Suwon. Three years later, Tancheon Sports Complex hosted the second-leg of 2004 season, when Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma lost the match with a heavy 5–0 defeat to Ittihad of Saudi Arabia and lost the glory 6–3 in aggregate. In 2006 season, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors won the trophy, defeated Syrian Al-Karamah SC, hosted the first final match at their home stadium, Jeonju World Cup Stadium and won the match 2–0. 2011 and 2012 finals are also held in South Korea. In 2011, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors hosted Qatari Al-Sadd in Jeonju World Cup Stadium, marked stadium's second time that hosted the final match. Jeonbuk losted the match in penalties to Al-Sadd. The next year saw another Korean club reached the final. AFC announced that the match will be held at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan. Ulsan Hyundai won the match 3–0, defeated Al Ahli SC. Two finals are also held in China (one in Hong Kong). In 1989–90 season, Liaoning Whowin reached the final and hosted the second-leg match at Tiexi New District Sports Center. Liaoning defeated Nissan FC 3–2 on aggregate. 1997–98 season's final also hosted by China, this time in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Stadium hosted the final match between Dalian Shide and Pohang Steelers which Pohang won 6–5 on penalties.
Neither team had won the AFC club championship before. The predecessor of FC Seoul (Anyang LG Cheetahs) finished as runners-up of the 2001–02 Asian Club Championship. It was also 16th time that a Korean club has reached the final which was the fourth for a Chinese club.
FC Seoul's Choi Yong-Soo backed his experienced FC Seoul side to take a huge step towards keeping the AFC Champions League title in Korean hands for a fourth time in five years. FC Seoul had ensured Korean representation in the final for a fifth consecutive season after losing just once during the campaign following quarter-final defeats in both the 2009 and 2011 campaigns. Choi was confident that the Korean champions could make a positive start at Seoul World Cup Stadium ahead of the return fixture in China at the start of November.
Guanghzhou's head coach Marcello Lippi insisted that winning the AFC Champions League with his side would equal his achievement with Italy’s Juventus in the European equivalent before the first leg of the final. Lippi won the UEFA Champions League with Juventus in 1996. After leading Italy to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 65-year-old joined domestic champions Guangzhou in May 2012. He had since won back-to-back Chinese Super League titles, and guided Guangzhou to the quarter-finals the year before. Guangzhou, like FC Seoul, had lost just once en route to the final, haing scored 14 goals in their last four games in the competition with the Italian had a full squad at his disposal as Guangzhou sought to hand China the first continental title since Liaoning won the 1990 Asian Club Championship, after having ended a 15-year wait for another Chinese finalist after Dalian Wanda lost the 1998 Asian Club Championship to Pohang Steelers.
Road to final
Note: In all results below, the score of the finalist is given first.
|FC Seoul||Round||Guangzhou Evergrande|
|Jiangsu Sainty||5–1 (H)||Matchday 1||Urawa Red Diamonds||3–0 (H)|
|Buriram United||0–0 (A)||Matchday 2||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||1–1 (A)|
|Vegalta Sendai||2–1 (H)||Matchday 3||Muangthong United||4–0 (H)|
|Vegalta Sendai||0–1 (A)||Matchday 4||Muangthong United||4–1 (A)|
|Jiangsu Sainty||2–0 (A)||Matchday 5||Urawa Red Diamonds||2–3 (A)|
|Buriram United||2–2 (H)||Matchday 6||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||0–0 (H)|
|Group E winner
|Final standings||Group F winner
|Opponent||Agg.||1st leg||2nd leg||Knock-out stage||Opponent||Agg.||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Beijing Guoan||3–1||0–0 (A)||3–1 (H)||Round of 16||Central Coast Mariners||5–1||2–1 (A)||3–0 (H)|
|Al-Ahli||2–1||1–1 (A)||1–0 (H)||Quarterfinals||Lekhwiya||6–1||2–0 (H)||4–1 (A)|
|Esteghlal||4–2||2–0 (H)||2–2 (A)||Semifinals||Kashiwa Reysol||8–1||4–1 (A)||4–0 (H)|
The final was played on a home-and-away two-legged basis (a change from the previous year where the final had been played as a single match), with the order of legs decided by draw. The away goals rule, extra time (away goals do not apply in extra time) and penalty shoot-out were used to decide the winner if necessary.
|This section may require copy-editing. (May 2014)|
FC Seoul's squad featured veterans of its previous campaigns and Colombian midfielder Mauricio Molina, who won the 2010 title with fellow K-League side Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. FC Seoul was without defender Cha Du-ri for the first leg of the final due to suspension, but veteran Brazilian Adilson replaced him and was expected to deputise at right-back as FC Seoul sought to stop Guangzhou's high-powered attack, which had scored 14 goals in their previous four games in the competition.
Guanghzhou's Brazilian striker Muriqui was the leading scorer in the competition leading up to the final with 13 goals, while fellow South Americans Dario Conca and Elkeson made significant contributions. Guanghzhou's Lippi confirmed marauding right-back Zhang Linpeng and midfielder Zhao Xuri had recovered from injury, giving Lippi a full squad at his disposal.
Guangzhou Evergrande took a huge step towards handing China a first continental title in 23 years despite Dejan Damjanović's late strike rescuing Korean counterparts FC Seoul a 2-2 draw in AFC Champions League final first leg. Sergio Escudero's 11th minute strike had handed Korean champions FC Seoul the ideal start in front of a lively 55,501 crowd at Seoul World Cup Stadium only for Elkeson’s fifth goal in as many AFC Champions League games to level the score 16 minutes before half-time.
China international Gao Lin then added to the Brazilian's header a minute before the hour mark, and despite Montenegrin striker Damjanovic equalising with seven minutes remaining, Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou head into next month's second leg in pole position as they try to follow in the footsteps of 1990 Asian Club Championship winners Liaoning. Having secured Chinese representation in the continental final for the first time since Dalian Wanda lost the 1998 Asian Club Championship decider to Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers, Guangzhou came close to a breakthrough after eight minutes as Dario Conca's shot was palmed back out towards the penalty spot only for Huang Bowen to blaze over the crossbar. But just two minutes later FC Seoul took the lead as Guangzhou's defence failed to deal with a quickly taken free-kick and Escudero held off Feng Xiaoting before coolly beating goalkeeper Zeng Cheng with a low shot from just inside the penalty area.
Guangzhou looked to make an instant response and Gao registered the visitors' first shot on target after 20 minutes as the China international saw his angled strike from inside the area brilliantly kicked away by FC Seoul custodian Kim Yong-Dae before Brazilian striker Elkeson fired over from Zhang Linpeng's cross. But Guangzhou were back on level terms 16 minutes before half-time as Huang's left wing corner was met by the unmarked Elkeson and the Brazilian's downward header from the edge of the six yard area gave Kim little chance despite a despairing dive from the FC Seoul goalkeeper. The visitors finished the first half strongly and almost completed the comeback in stoppage time as Kim had to be on his toes to push a rising strike from Conca away at his near post. FC Seoul striker Damjanovic warmed the gloves of Guangzhou goalkeeper Zeng Cheng seven minutes into the second half as the home side started brightly. But a minute before the hour mark, Guangzhou took the lead as FC Seoul's defence failed to fully clear the danger inside their penalty area and Sun Xiang's low drilled cross was diverted into the back of the net at the near post due to Gao Lin poking it in. Damjanovic again went close for FC Seoul after 66 minutes only to be denied by a brave last-ditch block by Sun Xiang before Koh Myong-Jin fired into the side netting prompting a scare.
Guangzhou, though, should have added a third with seven minutes remaining as Elkeson fired a tame effort straight at Kim from a promising position. And FC Seoul took full advantage less than a minute later as substitute Yun Il-Lok found Escudero in space on the left and the Japanese strikers' cut back found Damjanovic, who calmly swept the ball past Zeng from inside the area. The last play of the match, however, would fall to FC Seoul as a counter-attack quickly established itself between FC Seoul's striking partnership Damjanovic and Escudero. But it was no match as Damjanovic's shot was blocked valiantly by Zeng Cheng before the whistle blew.
26 October 2013
|FC Seoul||2–2||Guangzhou Evergrande|
Gao Lin 58'
FC Seoul head coach Choi Yong-Soo confident his team can secure the win needed in the second leg to claim the AFC Champions League after seeing his side held to a 2–2 draw by Guangzhou Evergrande in the first leg of the final. “It was a tough match, as you expect to see in the AFC Champions League final,” said Choi. “We always prepare to win but we drew in our home game. But we have an opportunity to win the game in the second leg; we're never going to give up and we can do it.”
Marcello Lippi rued a string of missed opportunities by his Guangzhou Evergrande side in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final: “The match was well fought throughout,” said Lippi. “The game was quite balanced between both teams. It’s been a period when we’ve had a couple of players out injured and this was their first match for 20 days. “But FC Seoul are a good team and they attack well and Damjanovic defends the ball well with his body.
Marcello Lippi has issued a clean bill of health for his Guangzhou Evergrande squad ahead of Saturday’s AFC Champions League final second leg against FC Seoul. Lippi left AFC Champions League leading scorer Muriqui and right-back Zhang Linpeng out of his side as Guangzhou rounded off another successful defence of their Chinese Super League crown with a 5-0 win over Wuhan Zall. But as Guangzhou look to build on last month’s 2-2 draw in Seoul to hand China a first continental title since 1990, Lippi is set to name the same side for a fourth consecutive game in the competition at Tianhe Stadium. “We are all ready. All of our injured players are ready for tomorrow’s match,” said the 65-year-old Italian World Cup winner. Guangzhou, who are unbeaten at home in the AFC Champions League this season, are seeking to emulate 1990 Asian Club Championship winners Liaoning having lost just once en route to the final largely thanks to 13 goals from Brazilian forward Muriqui.
In other side, Choi is boosted by the return of Cha Du-ri after the right-back missed the first leg due to suspension, while left-back Kim Chi-Woo is also in contention having been ruled out through injury. Former Germany-based defender Cha was recalled to the side for the win over Suwon at the expense of Choi Hyo-Jin, although veteran Brazilian defender Adilson retained his place ahead of Kim. Midfielder Yun Il-Lok also started ahead of Go Yo-Han in the win over Suwon, which was secured thanks to two goals from Montenegrin striker Damjanovic.
Guangzhou Evergrande became the first Chinese club to win the AFC Champions League since its format creation in 2002, as Marcello Lippi’s side secured the title on the away goals ruling after a 1-1 draw at Tianhe Stadium saw the Chinese Super League champions draw 3-3 over the two legs of the final with Korea Republic’s FC Seoul. Guangzhou Evergrande started with one change as Zhao Xuri replaced Gao Lin thus moving Conca as a "false nine"; a move which shocked many experts due to Gao's influential role in the season for Evergrande. FC Seoul, however, only swapped Cha Du-Ri in for Choi Hyo-Jin due Cha getting a yellow card in both matches against Esteghlal during the semifinals.
Brazilian striker Elkeson gave Guangzhou the lead in the 58th minute with his sixth goal in six AFC Champions League games, only for Dejan Damjanovic to level the scores four minutes later to crank up the tension at the Tianhe Stadium. But Choi Yong-Soo’s side could not find their way through the home defence a second time to claim the goal needed to keep the trophy in Korean hands and Guangzhou became the first Chinese side since Liaoning in 1990 to be crowned Asian club champions. Guangzhou will now represent the Asian Football Confederation at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco next month having added the AFC Champions League to the Chinese Super League title they retained at the end of October.
The Chinese side were deserved winners having dominated throughout with FC Seoul unable to register a first half chance of note as the home team controlled the tempo during the majority of the opening period. Zhao Xuri headed Sun Xiang’s cross from the left over the bar in the 11th minute after an impressive build-up by the home side and, five minutes later, Dario Conca shot on the turn clipped the base of the post.
Lippi’s team dominated possession, forcing the Koreans to sit deep as Guangzhou created – and spurned – an increasing number of chances. Conca’s shot from long range was just wide while Kim Yong-Dae dropped to his right to push Elkeson’s effort away for a corner. Elkeson’s attempt at a scissor kick also failed to hit the target in the 27th minute while Zhang Linpeng, who delivered the cross for the Brazilian’s effort, was booked six minutes later for an over-exuberant challenge.
Zhang was joined in the book on the stroke of halftime by FC Seoul captain Ha Dae-Sung, who was sanctioned for persistent fouling, while Elkeson had earlier spurned an opening when he headed straight at Kim following Sun’s deflected cross. Five minutes into the second half, Muriqui forced Kim into a reflect save with his feet after being put through on goal by Huang Bowen while Huang’s shot from range less than a minute later was straight at the visiting keeper. Seven minutes later, though, Guangzhou finally secured the advantage their dominance deserved; Muriqui slipped the ball through the middle of the Seoul defence and Elkeson’s deft first touch put him in position to stroke the ball beyond Kim and into the bottom corner.
The home side’s lead lasted just four minutes when Sergio Escudero held off the Guangzhou defence before releasing Damjanovic who, having barely seen sight of goal all game, finished with conviction to Zeng Cheng’s right to put the game in the balance once more.
Both sides pushed for a second in the final half hour of the game but, despite increasingly frantic action, neither goalkeeper was troubled and Guangzhou held on to send the crowd of over 42,000 fans delirious.
9 November 2013
|Guangzhou Evergrande||1–1||FC Seoul|
|Elkeson 58'||Report||Damjanović 63'|
Guangzhou Evergrande's head coach Marcello Lippi hailed his team's achievement in claiming China’s first continental title in 23 years, and defended the nature of its win on away goals, claiming that the success was deserved based on the team's performance throughout the competition, while FC Seoul's head coach Choi Yong-Soo was magnanimous in defeat.
Viewing figures for the AFC Champions League are set to reach new heights with the second leg of the 2013 final between Guangzhou Evergrande and FC Seoul on course to attract the highest sporting audience in China this year. First leg at Seoul World Cup Stadium averaged 17.42 million viewers in China, which ranks as the second highest this year for a sports event. CCTV-5 contributed 14.83 million viewers to the average live audience, with the match now the highest rated football audience on the channel this year and third highest overall for a sports event.
With the 2–2 draw being played in front of a 55,501 crowd in the Korean capital which was FC Seoul’s highest attendance of the season in any competition, the game also reached a total of 62.62 million viewers across six channels in China. Compared to other matches in the AFC Champions League this year, the average viewer figure in China for the first leg was 43% higher than the previous best which was recorded for Guangzhou’s semi-final second leg win over Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol earlier this month.
The second leg attracted an average audience of 23.68 million viewers on CCTV-5.
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