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The Stats Wrap

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: After more than three months of non-stop action in the AFC Cup, just seven teams are left with the dream of achieving continental glory as the tournament takes a two-month break. 

Persija Jakarta have hit the headlines with their record-breaking crowds while Air Force Club remain on course for a third successive title, but there is no shortage of other statistics that have caught the eye, so join as we hand-pick some of the best.

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The hitmen

Bienvenido Maranon of Ceres Negros and Yangon United’s Sekou Sylla are the AFC Cup’s top scorers with 10 goals apiece, having played seven and eight games respectively, while the former’s 21 shots on target is more than any other player on the continent.

Spaniard Maranon and Guinean Sylla both scored in their last game – a 3-2 win for Yangon over Ceres in the ASEAN Zonal semi-final that was insufficient for the Myanmar champions as the Filipino side won 6-5 on aggregate. On the downside, the pair were both also dismissed in the closing stages of the game.

On target

Kim Yu-song of DPR Korea side  doesn’t need a second invitation to find the back of the net, with five of his six shots having been on target and all five being goals, four of which came in an 8-0 victory over Benfica Macau.

Not usually known for his goalscoring feats, meanwhile, JSW Bengaluru’s Nishu Kumar (pictured), who is normally deployed in the left-back position, has had five efforts on goal, four of which have been on target and three have resulted in goals.

Super stats

Al Ahed’s Mohamad Haidar boasts some of the finest figures in this year’s AFC Cup. The tricky forward completed more dribbles than any other player before elimination to holders Air Force Club, with his 38 the exact number of times he’s been fouled (also a tournament high).

It doesn’t stop there, though, as the Lebanon international’s 745 touches is more than 150 more than second-placed Candela of New Radiant, while the 21 chances he created was second only to Maung Maung Lwin on Yangon and Al Ansar’s Abbas Atwi.

Threat from wide

Air Force Club midfielder Humam Tareq has delivered more crosses from open play into the area than any other player in the competition to date, with 41 in seven matches proof that he is a constant menace down the flanks.

The Iraq international has created 18 chances and boasts four assists to his name as he and Air Force Club attempt to win an unprecedented third title in a row. Only Kuwait SC (2009, 2012, 2013) have three titles to their name.

Persija playmaker

Persija Jakarta’s Riko Simanjuntak is number one when it comes to goals created, with the pint-sized winger setting up seven of his side’s 16 goals on their march to the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals, where they were eliminated at the hands of Home United.

The 26-year-old’s deliveries teed up both of Ramdani Lestaluhu’s goals in the first leg against Home United but Persija’s debut campaign ultimately came to an end following 3-2 and 3-1 defeats to the Singaporean side.

Possession kings

No team saw more of the ball than Ceres Negros, who have enjoyed almost 66.5 percent of the possession over their eight games to date, with 2015 champions Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia and DPR Korea’s Hwaepul SC second and third on the list.

Ceres are also the tournament’s joint top scorers on 23 goals, but that tally would have been far higher had the Filipino side not been denied eight times by the woodwork, a total that is at least twice as high as any other team.

Caught in a trap

The linesmen were kept busy during Persija Jakarta games as the Indonesian side were flagged up a tournament leading 29 times, three ahead of both Abahani Limited Dhaka of Bangladesh and Myanmar’s Shan United.

Persija’s guiltiest culprit was Marko Simic, with the Croatian striker caught offside eight times. That figure, though, is only half the number of Abahani’s Emeka Onuoha, with the Nigerian striker flagged 16 times in just six games.

Scoring runs

An Il-bom netted in his first five AFC Cup games as DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC stormed into the next round as Group I winners, although the skipper was unable to make it a perfect six as he failed to get on the scoresheet in their final group game against Hang Yuen FC.

One player boasts an even better scoring run at present, with Home United’s Song Ui-young having netted in each of his side’s last six games. The forward now has seven goals in eight matches and will be the Singaporean team’s key threat in the ASEAN Zonal final.

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