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Kuala Lumpur: As another week draws to a close, it's time for the-AFC.com to answer more of your questions as our Asian Football Trivia reaches its fourth week.

 

Champions, shocks and stadiums are among this weeks topics, so go ahead and bolster your knowledge before sending more questions via our social media handles with the hashtag #AskAFC.

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In a word, yes, but here’s some more details.

After winning the inaugural AFC Champions League in 2003, Al Ain were entered into the quarter-finals at the 2004 edition, where they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Defending champions Al Ittihad enjoyed the same luxury the following year and promptly defeated Shandong Luneng, Busan I’Park and Al Ain in the final to retain their title. In 2006, though, they were ousted 4-2 on aggregate by Syria’s Al Karamah in the last eight.

Jeonbuk were crowned the first winners from the East in 2006, but automatic entry into the 2007 quarter-finals did the Koreans no favours as a 4-1 aggregate reversal to eventual champions Urawa Red Diamonds meant they were the third champions in four years to fall at the first hurdle.

And finally, Urawa began in the last eight in 2008 and progressed pass Kuwait’s Qadsia SC before countrymen Gamba Osaka ran out 4-2 aggregate winners in the semi-final – a series that Gamba icon Yasuhito Endo particularly enjoyed – en route to lifting the trophy.

The following year Gamba had to slum it with the rest of the continent’s sides in the group stage as the rule was abolished, before the holders lost to compatriots Kawasaki Frontale in the newly introduced Round of 16. 


An interesting question with no definitive answer, but we’re happy to list a few. Feel free to let us know your opinions on the biggest upsets.

We’ll start with an all-time great AFC Champions League story. After finishing the 2012-13 A-League season as champions, Western Sydney Wanderers made their maiden appearance in the continental competition in the 2014 campaign and were paired in a group alongside Guizhou Renhe, Kawasaki Frontale and Ulsan Hyundai.

An opening-day home reversal to Ulsan meant few tipped the Australians to go far, but four wins from their next five saw them advance as table-toppers to the last 16, where they then saw off Sanfrecce Hiroshima on away goals despite a 3-1 first-leg loss.

 

It was from the last eight that the giants started to tumble as Guangzhou Evergrande were also ousted on away goals before a 2-0 semi-final win over FC Seoul saw the Sydney-based side into the final at the first first time of asking.

Al Hilal made the long trip east for the first leg of the final, where substitute Tomi Juric’s solitary strike would prove decisive as a 1-0 victory at Paramatta Stadium was followed with a scoreless draw in Riyadh a week later as Western Sydney hoisted the continent’s biggest club prize.

From this year, Muangthong United certainly have a claim to pulling off a great shock after the Thai side claimed their first-ever win in the competition against J.League champions Kashima Antlers in the group stage. With the scores tied at 1-1 deep into injury time, Spanish striker Xisco popped up at the back post to spark jubilation inside Supachalasai National Stadium.

Muangthong’s strong home form would continue as they also posted wins over Ulsan and Brisbane Roar, while they were resilient on the road in securing two draws from three to advance to the last 16 for the first time. A meeting with Kawasaki Frontale in the first knockout round, though, proved too much as the Japanese side claimed a 7-2 aggregate victory to bring the run to an end.

Going back to the second AFC Champions League final, Al Ittihad took on Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, with the first leg held in Jeddah. The scores were tied 1-1 at the interval, but late goals from Kim Do-hoon and Jang Hak-young meant the Koreans returned home with an extremely healthy lead. Incredibly, it was not enough.

Needing to score at least three to have any chance of pulling off an unlikely comeback, goals from Redha Tukar and Hamzah Idris put the Saudi side two up by half-time. A Mohammed Noor brace then stunned the home crowd before Manaf Abushgeer wrapped up a remarkable turnaround as Al Ittihad were crowned champions of Asia after a 5-0 win.


 


The atmosphere inside a capacity-filled Azadi Stadium will rival any venue in world football and, in the 2015 AFC Champions League, Tehran giants Persepolis enjoyed playing in front of a full house on three occasions.

After winning two of their first three group stage games Persepolis welcomed Saudi side Al Nassr, who they had lost 3-0 to three weeks previously, and 100,000 spectators turned out to see Mehdi Taremi’s penalty secure a 1-0 win. Then, needing a result against Bunyodkor in their final group outing, the venue was again packed out as Persepolis won 2-1 to progress.

 

AFC Champions League fever was by now gripping the Persepolis fans as six figures turned out once more in the Round of 16 as Brazilian Digao’s stoppage-time own-goal proved costly for visitors Al Hilal as the hosts won 1-0, before the Saudi side ran out 3-0 victors in the return leg to eliminate the Iranians.

If the Tehran side continue their form in this year’s competition after reaching the last eight for the first time, we can expect Azadi Stadium to be packed to the rafters yet again – and what a sight it is!

Photos: Lagardère Sports

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