The AFC Champions League Final 2015 was another momentous occasion and a milestone in the history of the Asian Football Confederation’s flagship competition.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to Guangzhou Evergrande in winning the 2015 AFC Champions League in in front of their home audience tonight after two hard fought legs.”
He continued: “This has been a momentous season for the AFC Champions League with new records set in the aggregate attendances as well, most importantly, in the average match attendance. More than 2.25m spectators attended the 143 Champions League matches in which 49 teams from 21 members took part. While there can be only one winner, we should recognise the contribution of all those teams who have made the tournament so successful and so attractive, not only to the spectators who packed the stadiums but also the millions who watched via television channels across Asia.”
Guangzhou Evergrande are only the second team in the history of the competition to win the trophy twice. They had an impressive run to the title, going unbeaten in the competition since losing 2-1 against Seongnam FC in the first leg of the Round of 16. The record of 22 unbeaten competitive matches makes remarkable reading for the club’s coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari. In addition to their continental success, Guangzhou Evergrande have been in great domestic form, securing their fifth consecutive Chinese Super League title this season.
The AFC Champions League is also attracting players from outside Asia, demonstrating the competition’s increasing global pulling power. Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho is a case in point, having added the second continental club title to his name today. He won South America’s Copa Libertadores in 2012 with Corinthians.
In addition to the congratulations to Guangzhou Evergrande, runners up Al Ahli deserve praise for providing stalwart opposition and making the final the exciting occasion it was: the highlight of the Asian club football calendar with the best of the West meeting the best of the East in the AFC flagship club competition. The AFC Champions League is now firmly established as one of the leading club competitions in the world.