The Group Stage: What They Said
Kuala Lumpur: With the 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 set to kick-off with the East showdowns next week, we look back at some of the best quotes from the Group Stage's six rounds of matches.
Births, super star performances, debuts, opportunities and sleepless nights all feature as the-AFC.com reviews our What They Said series from the last four months of action.
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It was a perfect Matchday One for Al Hilal veteran Mohammad Al Shalhoub, who scored the only goal of the game against Al Ain just hours after the arrival of his new baby boy.
A key win in the ACL race:3 points in the bag.— Bafétimbi Gomis (@BafGomis) March 5, 2019
Good performance of the team in Al Ain and “the spell is broken” 🙏🏿
Congratulations to the man of the match @mbsh_10 for the new born. Wishing him a long life of happiness Inchallah #legend pic.twitter.com/9f3IkRMHfJ
Daegu FC goalscorer Kim Dae-won was the last to know he'd opened his AFC Champions League account on Matchday Two, in a famous 3-1 win over Guangzhou Evergrande, after the ball bounced back into play off the inside of the side netting.
Hamid Ismaeil was full of praise for Xavi Hernandez after the skipper scored twice in Al Sadd’s 2-2 draw against Pakhtakor on Matchday Three.
He’s still got it 🔥— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 9, 2019
Xavi Hernandez lights up the Asian Champions League with two stunning goals for Al Sadd. pic.twitter.com/84umttEDbE
"It's the first AFC Champions League season for me as I made my Continental debut just last month. So, it's a great chance to get more experience, while I could improve my skills game by game."
Lokomotiv 'keeper Javohir Ilyosov took part in his debut campaign, and on Matchday Four spoke about the significance of playing at Continental club football's highest level.
"When people talk about forwards, it'll surely be about the foreign players. For me, the absence of foreign players give me an opportunity and this was the time for me to prove what I can do and provide for the team."
On Matchday Five, Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) match-winner Syafiq Ahmad took full advantage of his chance to start up front due to the suspension of Brazilian star Diogo. The young forward scored the game's only goal as JDT defeated holders Kashima Antlers to win their first-ever AFC Champions League tie.
69' - GOAL!! 1-0 Johor Darul Ta'zim!!— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) May 8, 2019
JDT have taken the lead against the odds here as Syafiq Ahmad dances past one Kashima defender to get inside the box and then curls his shot into the far post! Johor lead against the Asian champions!!! #ACL2019 #JDTvKAS pic.twitter.com/ZH5EwphkLb
Li Shenglong had a Matchday Six to remember after scoring his first ever AFC Champions League goal in Shanghai SIPG's 5-0 win over Ulsan Hyundai that secured a place in the Round of 16.
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