Round of 16, Second Leg Toyota Player of the Week: Mame Thiam
Kuala Lumpur: A match-winning hat-trick from Esteghlal’s Mame Thiam in the 2018 AFC Champions League Round of 16, second leg against Zobahan has seen the Senegalese striker named as the Toyota Player of the Week.
Esteghlal went into Tuesday’s game against their Islamic Republic of Iran rivals a goal down from the first leg but Thiam leveled proceedings with an early penalty, before curling in a fabulous effort from distance shortly before half-time.
Midway through the second half, the forward side-footed home his third in what was ultimately the contest’s deciding goal, his seventh of the campaign. Thiam got all four of his shots on target, posting a conversion rate of 75 percent, and scored a rating of 9.2.
Thiam’s goals have taken Esteghlal to a first quarter-final appearance since 2013 as he became only the fourth player this campaign to net three or more goals in a game, after Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors duo Adriano and Kim Shin-wook and Guangzhou Evergrande’s Ricardo Goulart.
Second in this week’s ranking is another player who shone in Tehran, Ahmad Nourollahi (pictured below), whose stunning strike opened the scoring in Persepolis’s 2-1 victory over Al Jazira on Monday.
With Persepolis trailing 3-2 from the first leg and the game well into the second half, Nourollahi turned 25 yards from goal and fired in an unstoppable shot to send fans inside Azadi Stadium into raptures, before the Tehran side eventually advanced on away goals.
In a fine all round performance, the midfielder made 57 passes with 89.5 percent accuracy and created four chances for his teammates, gaining a rating of 8.8 as Persepolis returned to the last eight of the AFC Champions League for the second successive year.
The tournament’s joint top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah (pictured below) takes third place in the Toyota Player of the Week after the Algerian netted a brace in Al Sadd’s 2-2 draw with Al Ahli as the Qatari side progressed 4-3 on aggregate.
Three of Bounedjah’s four shots were on target and the striker picked up an 8.5 rating as he took his goal tally over two legs against Al Alhi to four and his total for the tournament to nine.
In a list that’s dominated by goalscorers, Goulart comes in at fourth after the Brazilian netted a double in Guangzhou’s 2-2 draw with domestic rivals Tianjin Quanjian.
Goulart’s brace came from five efforts on goals while he also created four chances for his teammates. The forward gained a rating of 8.5, although the two-time winners exited on away goals.
Completing this week’s top five is Al Jazira’s Romarinho, who leveled the scores against Persepolis with an excellent strike from distance for his sixth goal of the campaign and scored an 8.1 rating.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings’ two-goal Kim Gun-hee came fifth with an 8.0 rating, followed by Jeonbuk defender Choi Chul-soon on 7.9 and Persepolis defender Sadegh Moharrami on 7.8.