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CSL's increasing competitiveness can add to Asia's Elite competition

CCTV.com

12-14-2016 15:45 BJT

In recent years teams from the Chinese super league have been impressive when competing on the continental stage with Guangzhou Evergrande winning two of the previous four competitions. A remarkable achievement for the PRC whose presence in the Champions League has always made for some entertaining matches.

The AFC Champions League was founded in 2003 with upto 29 teams competing. After a reform 6 years later the event was expanded to 32 and flying the flag for China up until that stage were Dalian and Shenzhen who were able to reach the semi-finals in 2003 and 2005 respectively.  

In terms of appearances, its Shandong Luneng who has competed the most, turning out in eight editions. China derby rivals Shanghai Shenhua and Beijing Guoan have qualified seven times with Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande have lifted the trophy twice in their 5 outings in the competition.

Since 2009, there has been a Chinese team in the Champions League every year. Guangzhou have dominated the CSL since arriving in China's top flight in 2011 and then went one better by winning their first Champions League in 2011, a feat they repeated in 2015.

With the competitiveness rising in the PRC's domestic league the likes of Jiangsu Suning and SIPG now have a chance to challenge the Red and Gold not just on home soil but in Asia.

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