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​Two Vietnamese clubs among contenders for most popular in Asia

By Hoang Nguyen   December 22, 2020 | 06:22 pm PT
​Two Vietnamese clubs among contenders for most popular in Asia
Hanoi FC players celebrate the victory over Hong Linh Ha Tinh in V. League 1 on October 20, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Hanoi FC and Hoang Anh Gia Lai are among 10 Southeast Asian clubs that will compete for the title of Asia’s Most Popular Football Club.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has chosen 10 contenders from each region on the continent, and two will go into a final with the winner to be chosen by public poll.

The AFC described Hanoi FC as being at the "forefront of the Vietnamese football scene."

"The contemporary powerhouse of a football-mad country, Hanoi FC are only 14 years old, but five V. League 1 titles, including four since 2016, underline their exceptional success as a football club, which also saw them fall just one goal short of reaching the 2019 AFC Cup Final."

The club missed out on the V. League title this season, finishing second to city rival Viettel FC, after winning in 2018 and 2019.

Eight players from the club have been called up to the national team.

HAGL won the V. League in 2003 and 2004 and made it to the AFC Champions League group stage twice as a result, but have been unable to repeat the same impressive success since then.

But they are full of hope for next season following the appointment of their former player and legendary Thai striker Kiatisuk Senamuang as head coach.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai (white) play Nam Dinh at the National Cup, May 23, 2020. Photo by VnExpress.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai (white) play Nam Dinh at the National Cup, May 23, 2020. Photo by VnExpress.

Second to Hanoi in our October poll aimed at finding the most popular club in Vietnam was Hoang Anh Gia Lai, who can claim to be one of the country’s best-supported teams despite minimal recent success, and their base in the relatively small city of Pleiku," the AFC wrote.

On the list are also four Indonesian clubs (Persija Jakarta, Persib, Persebaya Surabaya, and Arema FC), two Malaysian clubs (Johor Darul Ta’zim and Perak FA) and one Thai (Buriram United) and Australian (Western Sydney Wanderers) club each.

Two Iranian clubs, Tractor SC and Persepolis FC, have won from the Central & South Asia region, while China’s Shanghai Shenhua and South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings made the cut from East Asia.

The poll for the ASEAN region will end on Friday, December 25, while the West Asia region poll starts on Wednesday and ends on Saturday.

The finals will begin on Sunday. Fans are allowed to vote once a day.

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