2011 AFC Champions League
12 February – 5 November 2011|
36 (from 13 associations)|
Al-Sadd (2nd title)|
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors|
336 (2.8 per match)|
1,294,388 (10,787 per match)|
The 2011 AFC Champions League was the 30th edition of the top-level Asian club football tournament organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and the 9th under the current AFC Champions League title. The winner, Al-Sadd qualified for the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. As in previous years, Nike provided the official ball for all matches with a new Nike Total 90 Tracer model used throughout the season.
Allocation of entries per association
The AFC has approved criteria for participation in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The final decision date was set after the Executive Committee meeting in November 2010.
On 30 November 2009, the AFC announced 12 more MA's that were keen to join the ACL, in addition to ten participating national associations. Singapore later withdrew. The full list of candidate associations were as follows:
- East Asia
- West Asia
- Already participating: Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Uzbekistan
- Keen to participate: Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Tajikistan, Yemen, India
Note: Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and India have clubs taking part in play-offs to qualify for the group stages of ACL in 2010.
Entrants per association
The allocation for entry to the 2011 ACL stayed the same as the previous two seasons with the exception of Vietnam who were disqualifed and their previous playoff slot was awarded to Qatar.
The finalists of the 2010 AFC Cup also participated in the play-off, provided that they meet the Champions League criteria.
The following is the list of direct entrants for the group stage confirmed by the AFC.
* Number of appearances (including qualifying rounds) since the 2002/03 season, when the competition was rebranded as the AFC Champions League
The following is the list of participants for the playoff stage confirmed by the AFC. The committee further proposed that one team be shifted by the means of a draw from the West to the East for sake of balance.
Schedule of dates for 2011 competition.
||7 December 2010
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
|12–13 February 2011|
||19 February 2011|
||1–2 March 2011|
||15–16 March 2011|
||5–6 April 2011|
||19–20 April 2011|
||3–4 May 2011|
||10–11 May 2011|
||Round of 16
||24–25 May 2011|
||7 June 2011
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
|14 September 2011
||27–28 September 2011|
||19 October 2011
||26 October 2011|
||4 or 5 November 2011 at home of one of the finalists|
The draw for the qualifying play-off was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 7 December 2010. In order to create balance another draw was held, moving one of the teams (Al-Ain) from the West into the East side of the play-offs.
The two winners from the qualifying play-off (one from West Asia and one from East Asia) advanced to the group stage. All losers from the qualifying play-off entered the 2011 AFC Cup group stage.
The draw for the group stage was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 7 December 2010. Clubs from the same country may not be drawn into the same group. The winners and runners-up of each group advanced to the knockout stage.
- Sepahan and Al-Hilal are ranked by their head-to-head records: Sepahan (4 pts), Al-Hilal (1 pt).
- Al-Nassr and Esteghlal are also tied on their head-to-head records (3 pts, 0 GD, 3 GF), and so are ranked by their overall goal difference.
- Gamba Osaka and Tianjin Teda are ranked by their head-to-head records: Gamba Osaka (3 pts, +1 GD), Tianjin Teda (3 pts, −1 GD).
- Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Kashima Antlers are also tied on their head-to-head records (2 pts, 0 GD, 2 GF), and so are ranked by their overall goal difference.
Round of 16
Based on the results from the group stage, the matchups of the round of 16 were decided as below. Each tie was played as one match, hosted by the winners of each group (Team 1) against the runners-up of another group (Team 2).
The draw for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 7 June 2011. In this draw, the "country protection" rule was applied: if there are exactly two clubs from the same country, they may not face each other in the quarter-finals; however, if there are more than two clubs from the same country, they may face each other in the quarter-finals.
- ^ The AFC Disciplinary Committee decided to award the quarter-final first leg to Al-Sadd against Sepahan as a 3–0 forfeit win after Sepahan were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player. The match originally ended 1–0 to Sepahan.
The final of the 2011 AFC Champions League was hosted by one of the finalists, decided by draw. This format was a change from the 2009 and 2010 editions, where the final was played at a neutral venue.
|AFC Champions League|
The following awards were given for the 2011 AFC Champions League:
Note: Goals scored in qualifying round not counted.