ACL 23 Under 23s - End of Group Stage analysis (East Zone)
Kuala Lumpur: Having concluded the 2017 AFC Champions League Group Stage, The-AFC.com analyses the performance of the 23 under 23 stars with the focus now on those in the East Zone.
Club: Jeju United
Minutes played: 397
Ahn Hyun-beom played in all six games as Jeju United advanced to the knockout rounds. He made more recoveries (31) and won more duels (27) than any of our picks in the East, while he was also successful in all five tackles he made.
Club: Jiangsu FC
Minutes played: 202
Combative frontman Roger Martinez started Jiangsu FC’s first two games but has only made one substitute appearance since. In a little over 200 minutes, however, the Colombian won 16 duels and had eight shots on goal and his threat may well be on display in the knockout rounds.
Club: Urawa Red Diamonds
Minutes played: 233
Two goals and one assist in just three games is an excellent return for Takahiro Sekine, who is the only player on our 23-strong list to have netted more than once. The winger’s passing accuracy of just over 88%, meanwhile, is only bettered by countryman Yosuke Ideguchi.
Club: Muangthong United
Minutes played: 113
The second half of the group stage saw Suphan Thongsong earn more game time than the opening half as the defender appeared in all of Muangthong United’s final three games to help the Thai side progress to the knockout round for the first time.
Club: Adelaide United
Minutes played: 395
Three assists for Ben Garuccio equals Brandon Borrello as the best of our 23 under 23 players, while 10 chances created is the highest in the East alongside his countryman. Only Dostonbek Khamdamov delivered more crosses into the box of those on our list as, despite Adelaide United’s early elimination, Garuccio proved his future potential.
Club: Brisbane Roar
Minutes played: 378
Brisbane Roar may have exited at the group stage but Brandon Borrello did his reputation no harm. The winger assisted three of his side’s four goals and created 10 chances, stats that mirror fellow Australian Ben Garuccio and are the joint highest in the East.
Club: Kawasaki Frontale
Minutes played: 173
More than half of Koji Miyoshi’s group stage game time came in Kawasaki Frontale’s most important fixture. After four successive draws, the Japanese side won away at Suwon Samsung Bluewings in a game that Miyoshi won more duels (11) than anyone on the pitch as Kawasaki won 1-0 and ultimately progressed.
Club: Western Sydney Wanderers
Minutes played: 360
Defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis played no part in Western Sydney Wanderers’ heavy opening two defeats. But he was an ever-present in their last four games as the 2014 champions picked up six points to exit with their heads held high.
Club: Kashima Antlers
Minutes played: 540
An ever-present as Kashima Antlers advanced on top of Group E, Naomichi Ueda is one of only two players on our 23-man list to have played every minute. The defender scored one goal and made the second highest number of passes (198), while 21 recoveries and 16 duels won marks an excellent campaign to date.
Club: Ulsan Hyundai
Minutes played: 122
Kim Seung-jun appeared in just two of Ulsan Hyundai’s six games on the continent prior to the K-League Classic side’s early exit. The forward did, however, deliver a passing accuracy rate of 83% and won five of his six tackles in the little time he was given on the pitch.
Club: Gamba Osaka
Minutes played: 405
Despite Gamba Osaka’s hugely disappointing campaign, Yosuke Ideguchi performed admirably. No player on our list beats his 89% passing accuracy or the number of successful passes (222) made, while 27 recoveries was also the second highest in the East.
Club: Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Minutes played: 0
The only player in the East on our list without any time on the pitch, Kim Gun-hee saw Suwon Samsung Bluewings narrowly miss out on qualification to the last 16. The striker will hope to get his chance on the continent in 2018.