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AFC Champions League: 5 Most Successful Teams In The Competition’s History

AFC Champions League: 5 Most Successful Teams In The Competition’s History

Jun 18, 2024 12:39 PM

The AFC Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in Asia. Every year, the most elite teams on the continent qualify for the tournament, enthrall fans with eye-catching football over the course of the season. The winners of the tournament can not only call themselves the best team in Asia but also qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup, where they get the chance to officially become the best football club in the world.

Needless to say, winning the AFC Champions League is no cakewalk, with only a handful of teams managing to do so since the tournament’s inauguration in 1967. With less than a month to go before the 2023-24 AFC Champions League campaign gets underway, let us take a look at the five most successful teams in the competition’s history. Now, without further ado, let’s get to it!

#5 Esteghlal – Iran

Esteghlal Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In The AFC Champions LeagueEsteghlal Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In The AFC Champions LeagueEsteghlal First Won The AFC Champions League In 1970

Having won the AFC Champions League a total of two times, Iranian side Esteghlal are the fifth team on this list. In addition to winning the tournament twice, they have also finished runners-up on a couple of occasions.

Esteghlal won the third edition of the AFC Champions League in 1970, beating Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-1 in the final. It took them 21 years to play another AFC Champions League final, but the outcome was once again flattering, as they won the trophy for the second time at Liaoning FC’s expense (2-1). Esteghlal have played two more finals since (1991, 1999) but came up empty-handed.

#4 Seongnam FC – South Korea

Seongnam FC Is One Of The Most Successful Teams In AFC Champions LeagueSeongnam FC Is One Of The Most Successful Teams In AFC Champions LeagueSeongnam FC Last Won The Champions League In 2010

In fourth place, we have Seongnam FC from South Korea. They have played four AFC Champions League finals so far, winning it twice.

Seongnam FC came out on top in their first-ever AFC Champions League final in the 1994-95 season, beating Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. They reached the final once again in the 1996-97 season but came up short against Pohang Steelers. Seongnam’s last triumph in the tournament came in the 2009-10 season, with them beating Zob Ahan in the decider.

#3 Pohang Steelers – South Korea

Pohang Steelers Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In AFC Champions LeaguePohang Steelers Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In AFC Champions LeaguePohang Steelers Won Their First Silverware In 1997

South Korean powerhouse Pohang Steelers are the third-most successful team in AFC Champions League history, with them winning three of the four finals they have contested so far.

Steelers’ first AFC Champions League victory came in the 1996-97 season. They successfully defended their crown in the 1997-98 season, becoming only the second team to do so after Thai Farmers Bank (1993-94, 1994-95). The South Korean side, however, have not been on the money for a while, with their last AFC Champions League triumph coming in 2009.

#2 Urawa Red Diamonds – Japan

Urawa Red Diamonds Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In AFC Champions LeagueUrawa Red Diamonds Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In AFC Champions LeagueUrawa Red Diamonds Are The Current Champions League Holders

Urawa Red Diamonds have not only won as many finals as the third-placed Pohang Steelers, but they have also lost just as many. However, since they won the tournament as recently as last season, we are awarding the second position to the Japanese outfit.

The Red Diamonds’ first AFC Champions League win came in the 2006-07 season, with them securing the top spot by beating Sepahan 3-1 (on aggregate) over the two-legged final. Red Diamonds’ only defeat in the final came against Al-Hilal (3-0 on aggregate) in the 2018-19 season.

#1 Al-Hilal – Saudi Arabia

AL Hilal Are The Most Successul Team In AFC Champions LeagueAL Hilal Are The Most Successul Team In AFC Champions LeagueAL Hilal Played The Final Last Season

With four wins, Saudi Pro League side, Al-Hilal, are the most successful team in the history of the AFC Champions League. The Saudi Arabian outfit first won the tournament in 1991, five years after playing their first final. In addition to winning the competition four times, Al-Hilal have also played the most number of finals (9).

Al-Hilal’s last victory in the AFC Champions League came in 2021. They beat South Korean side Pohang Steelers 2-0 in the final to clinch their fourth continental silverware.

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