AFC Champions League 2017

ACL 23 Under 23s - End of Group Stage analysis (East Zone)

Friday, May 19, 2017
Brandon Borrello brisbane-roar AUS AFP jpg

Kuala Lumpur: Having concluded the 2017 AFC Champions League Group Stage, analyses the performance of the 23 under 23 stars with the focus now on those in the East Zone.

Read part one of the 23 Under 23 players 2017 AFC Champions League Group Stage 

Ahn Hyun-beom

Age: 22

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.

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Suphan Thongsong

Age: 22

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.

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Ben Garuccio

Age: 21

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.

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Brandon Borrello

Age: 21

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.

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Koji Miyoshi

Age: 20

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.

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Jonathan Aspropotamitis

Age: 20

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.

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Naomichi Ueda

Age: 22

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.

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Kim Seung-jun

Age: 22

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.

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Yosuke Ideguchi

Age: 20

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.

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Kim Gun-hee

Age: 22

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.