2013 AFC Champions League
9 February – 9 November 2013|
35 (from 10 associations)|
Guangzhou Evergrande (1st title)|
349 (2.71 per match)|
2,021,025 (15,667 per match)|
The 2013 AFC Champions League was 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 defending champions, Ulsan Hyundai, failed to qualify for the tournament. As in previous years, Nike provided the official ball for all matches with a new Nike Maxim model used throughout the season.
In the final, Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande defeated South Korean team FC Seoul on away goals to win their first title, becoming the first Chinese team to win the AFC Champions League (and the second Chinese team to be crowned Asian club champions after Liaoning FC), and qualified for the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.
Allocation of entries per association
The AFC laid out the procedure for deciding the participating associations and the allocation of slots, with inspection of the associations interested in participating in the AFC Champions League to be done in 2012, and the final decision to be made by the AFC in November 2012.
The following criteria for participation in the AFC Champions League were proposed by the AFC in July 2012:
- The member association (MA) has to acquire a minimum number of 600 points out of a possible 1000 according to the AFC evaluating system to qualify for participation.
- The slots for each eligible MA are decided based on the points ranking of the MAs:
- The top two ranked MAs in both the East and West zones get four direct slots each.
- The third-ranked MAs get three direct and one play-off slot.
- The fourth-ranked MAs get two direct and one play-off slot.
- The fifth-ranked MAs get one direct and one play-off slot.
- The sixth, seventh and eighth-ranked MAs get only a play-off slot each.
- The maximum number of slots for each MA is one-third of the total number of clubs in the top division (e.g., Australia can only get a maximum of three total slots as there are only nine Australia-based clubs in the A-League).
On 29 November 2012, the AFC Executive Committee approved the slots for the 2013 edition of the AFC Champions League. However, this final allocation of slots did not fully follow the proposal above.
|Evaluation for 2013 AFC Champions League|
||Fulfills criteria (> 600 points)|
||Does not fulfill criteria, but allocated slots|
||Does not fulfill criteria, not allocated slots|
- ^ a b c One of the two group stage direct entrants from Uzbekistan was moved to the East Asia Zone.
The following teams entered the competition.
In the following table, the number of appearances and last appearance count only those since the 2002–03 season (including qualifying rounds), when the competition was rebranded as the AFC Champions League.
The schedule of the competition was as follows (all draws held at AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).
||6 December 2012
||9 February 2013|
||26–27 February 2013|
||12–13 March 2013|
||2–3 April 2013|
||9–10 April 2013|
||23–24 April 2013|
||30 April–1 May 2013|
||Round of 16
||14–15 May 2013
||21–22 May 2013|
||20 June 2013
||21 August 2013
||18 September 2013|
||25 September 2013
||2 October 2013|
||25 or 26 October 2013
||8 or 9 November 2013|
The following changes in the format of the competition were made compared with the previous year:
- Losers of the AFC Champions League qualifying play-off did not participate in the AFC Cup.
- The round of 16 was played over two legs on a home-and-away basis instead of as a single match.
- The final was played over two legs on a home-and-away basis instead of as a single match.
The draw for the qualifying play-off was held on 6 December 2012. Each tie was played as a single match, with extra time and penalty shoot-out used to decide the winner if necessary. The winners of each tie advanced to the group stage to join the 29 automatic qualifiers.
- ^ Brisbane Roar was given home advantage in the original draw, but the match was later switched to be hosted by Buriram United per agreement between the two teams due to rescheduling of the match from the original date.
The draw for the group stage was held on 6 December 2012. The 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four. Teams from the same association could not be drawn into the same group. Each group was played on a home-and-away round-robin basis. The winners and runners-up of each group advanced to the round of 16.
The teams are ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss). If tied on points, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
- Greater number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned
- Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned
- Greater number of goals scored in the group matches between the teams concerned (away goals do not apply)
- Goal difference in all the group matches
- Greater number of goals scored in all the group matches
- Penalty shoot-out if only two teams are involved and they are both on the field of play
- Fewer score calculated according to the number of yellow and red cards received in the group matches (1 point for a single yellow card, 3 points for a red card as a consequence of two yellow cards, 3 points for a direct red card, 4 points for a yellow card followed by a direct red card)
- Drawing of lots
- Al-Ettifaq are ranked ahead of Pakhtakor on head-to-head record.
- Buriram United and Jiangsu Sainty are tied on head-to-head record, and so are ranked by overall goal difference.
- Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are ranked ahead of Urawa Red Diamonds on head-to-head record.
In the knock-out stage, the 16 teams played a single-elimination tournament. Each tie was played on a home-and-away two-legged basis. 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.
Round of 16
In the round of 16, the winners of one group played the runners-up of another group in the same zone, with the group winners hosting the second leg.
The draw for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final (to decide the order of two legs) was held on 20 June 2013. In this draw, teams from different zones could play each other, and the "country protection" rule was applied: if there are exactly two teams from the same association, they may not play each other in the quarter-finals; however, if there are more than two teams from the same association, they may play each other in the quarter-finals.
3–3 on aggregate. Guangzhou Evergrande won on away goals.
Note: Goals scored in qualifying play-off not counted.