- Asian Champions League match held in Melbourne
- Second-tier Japanese team better team in 0-0 draw
- Disappointing result for the A-League’s Melbourne City team
After the Matildas’ incredible success at the World Cup, it was hoped that football in Australia had turned a corner.
But if the shocking crowd at Wednesday night’s AFC Asian Champions League match between Melbourne City and Ventforet Kofu at AAMI Park is any guide, the code must find a better way to attract fans.
And it has to happen quickly, as there were only 3245 supporters present.
The figure makes for grim reading when you consider at least 90,000 fans will head to the MCG on Friday night when Collingwood plays GWS Giants in the AFL preliminary final.
The 0–0 result was also disappointing for Melbourne City, as Vontforet Kofu played in Japan’s second-tier J2 league.
Wednesday night’s AFC Asian Champions League match between Melbourne City and Ventforet Kofu at AAMI Park attracted just 3,245 fans – with row after row of seats left empty
The shocking crowd left football fans wondering how the sport can remain relevant and build on the Matildas’ World Cup success.
Football fan Ben Williams spoke for many when he called the crowd ‘really terrible’.
“Australia’s only #ACL2023 representative this season and they were sung by the fans of a J2 club,” he said tweeted at X.
‘Huge image problem for the game in Australia.’
Plenty of other frustrated supporters agreed – and it also emerged that the cheapest tickets for the ACL clash cost $40 plus booking fees.
‘That’s disgraceful! No wonder fans didn’t care,” said one.
Another wrote: ‘We enjoy pricing people out of football in this country.
‘The Asian Cup in 2015 and the Women’s World Cup are about the only two times we got it right… and we were richly rewarded.’
It is also understood that the cheapest tickets for the ACL clash were $40 plus booking fees
Melbourne City captain Jamie Maclaren admitted it was a sloppy performance on the field.
“I have to take into account that it is a new group, we have about thirteen new players, so it takes time to play our style of football,” he said.
“Being at home, we want to be ahead… but sometimes we were outplayed.”
After winning the A-League premiership last season, Melbourne City are the only Australian side to participate in the Asian Champions League.
The AFC Cup features the Central Coast Mariners – who lost 1-0 to Terengganu FC in Malaysia on Wednesday evening – and Australia Cup winners Macarthur FC, who take on Shan United in Myanmar on Thursday evening at 10pm (AEST).