ACL 2017 Quarter-final 1st leg Toyota Player of the Week: Yu Kobayashi
Kuala Lumpur: Yu Kobayashi has been named the Toyota Player of the Week after the forward bagged a brace in Kawasaki Frontale’s 3-1 victory over domestic rivals Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old opened the scoring from 10 yards just after the half hour before heading home from close in with five minutes remaining to give his side a two-goal cushion ahead of the return fixture next month.
Kobayashi had eight shots on goal and completed 38 passes, earning himself a rating of 8.6, as Kawasaki stretched their unbeaten run on the continent to nine while also making it five wins in a row.
Another man who netted twice, Shanghai SIPG’s Wu Lei, takes second spot with an 8.0 rating after the lively frontman delivered a fine display in his team’s 4-0 victory over compatriots Guangzhou Evergrande on Tuesday.
After winning the penalty for Hulk to open the scoring in the first half, Wu added quick-fire third and fourth goals shortly after the hour to leave Shanghai firm favourites to progress to a first AFC Champions League semi-final.
The first entry from the West sees goalkeeper Khalid Eisa in third position in the Toyota Player of the Week rankings after a clean sheet in Al Ain’s scoreless draw with Al Hilal.
Eisa made six saves, scoring a rating of 7.7, to keep the Saudi Arabian side at bay as Al Ain kept what could ultimately prove a crucial clean sheet ahead of the second leg in Riyadh in three weeks’ time.
Back in the East, Yuki Muto picks up fourth on the list with a 7.5 rating after his strike ensured Urawa Red Diamonds at least returned to Saitama with an away goal to their name.
Completing this week’s top five is AFC Champions League debutant Leonardo da Silva, who put Al Ahli two goals up against Persepolis as the hour approached in the first leg of their last-eight fixture.
Two more players with 7.4 ratings – Kawasaki’s Eduardo Neto and Shanghai goalkeeper Yan Junling – came sixth and seventh respectively, with the former completing an impressive 106 passes and the latter making four saves in keeping a clean sheet.
The third Kawasaki player on the Toyota Player of the Week list, Kengo Nakamura, completes the top eight after claiming an assist and a 7.2 rating in his side’s 3-1 victory.