Quarter-final, Second Leg Toyota Player of the Week: Akram Afif
Kuala Lumpur: Akram Afif has been named the Toyota Player of the Week after the forward played a starring role in Al Sadd’s 2-2 draw with Esteghlal in the second leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-final on Monday as the Qatari side advanced 5-3 on aggregate.
With Al Sadd leading 3-1 from the first leg, Afif burst into the box to open the scoring with a low, angled drive before, with his side 2-1 down on the night, the 21-year-old was brought down for a penalty in injury time as the hosts salvaged a 2-2 draw to advance.
Afif had five attempts on goal, posted a passing accuracy of 86 percent and created three chances for his teammates as he scored an 8.0 rating to help Al Sadd return to the semi-finals for the first time since winning the competition in 2011.
Second in this week’s ranking is Kashima Antlers midfielder Serginho (pictured below), who scored for the second successive game against Tianjin Quanjian as the Japanese side claimed a 3-0 second-leg win to progress to their first ever AFC Champions League semi-final 5-0 on aggregate.
After his stunning long-range effort wrapped up a 2-0 win in the first leg, the Brazilian headed home from close in to open the scoring at Macau Olympic Stadium and dash any hopes Tianjin had of a comeback.
Serginho had two attempts on target and created two chances for his teammates, including teeing up Shoma Doi for Kashima’s third goal, as the J.League team advanced with little fuss and the 23-year-old scored a rating of 7.9.
Completing the top three in the Toyota Player of the Week is another Kashima player, Hiroki Abe, who netted his side’s second goal just before the half hour to all but kill the tie off.
Abe found space inside the area before seeing his deflected effort end up in the bottom corner for his first goal of the campaign in a performance that earned the midfielder a 7.8 rating.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors defender Choi Chul-soon came fourth in this week’s ranking – completing 64 passes, making four tackles and scoring 7.7 – as the two-time champions almost pulled off a miracle escape against Suwon Samsung Bluewings before losing from the penalty spot after a 3-0 victory.
Rounding off the top five is Choi’s teammate Kim Shin-wook, who came off the bench to equalise with a wonderful towering header. The Korea Republic international had three attempts on goal and gained a 7.7 rating.
Another Jeonbuk scorer with a rating of 7.7, Choi Bo-kyung (pictured above), comes in sixth, while Esteghlal goalscorers Morteza Tabrizi and Rouhollah Bagheri complete the top eight with ratings of 7.6.