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AFC Champions League Final: Midfield Maestros

Doha: The 2020 AFC Champions League reaches its climax on Saturday as Korea Republic's Ulsan Hyundai FC and Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis FC lock horns at Al Janoub Stadium with the crown of Asia's club kings at stake.

Ahead of Saturday’s final, takes a statistical look at key players for Ulsan and Persepolis in defence, midfield and attack.

Having compared defenders Dave Bulthuis and Persepolis’ Hossein Kanaani, our attention turns to two men creating magic from midfield.

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Yoon Bit-garam – Ulsan Hyundai

In his first season with the Horangi, the longtime Jeju United midfielder has been nothing short of a revelation in his side’s charge to the AFC Champions League final.

It might have taken eight years for Yoon Bit-garam to get his second AFC Champions League goal after netting for Seongnam FC at the 2012 edition, but he has since been a man on fire, netting two braces and creating three more for his teammates.

Instrumental in Ulsan's impressive attack, Yoon has proven to be an adept passer, a threat on goal and a set-piece specialist. His four goals mean only four players have netted more than him, while his assists number has him joint second in the competition.

Perhaps the most impressive statistic associated with Yoon, though, is that of all players in the competition with a minimum of 10 shots on goal he has by far the best shooting accuracy, a quite stunning 80% excluding blocks.

In short, Yoon ticks all the boxes of a classic number 10 and his successful combinations with leading goalscorer and target man Junior Negrao will be key if Ulsan are to shake off a year of domestic disappointment and lift the AFC Champions League title for the first time since 2012.

Bashar Resan – Persepolis

The Iraq playmaker and firm fan favourite amongst the Persepolis support arrived at Azadi Stadium in 2017 and since then Bashar Resan has grown to become a mainstay of Persepolis’ starting XI and a key creative element of the side that went on to reach the 2018 AFC Champions League final.

Resan has continued where he left off in the 2020 edition as well. No Persepolis player has created more chances for teammates (12) than Resan, nor put in as many accurate crosses (11).

The 23-year-old, who has his birthday on Tuesday, also leads his teammates in successful passes in the opponent's half (241), while only Vahid Amiri is ahead of him on successful passes in the final third.

And his tally of two assists could easily have been doubled had Isa Alkasir not crashed two exquisite Resan crosses onto the woodwork against Al Sadd in the Round of 16.

The Baghdad-born man also puts in the work at the other end of the field too, as he ranks fourth amongst teammates in duels won and tackles won.

Up against a team that boasts so many weapons in their arsenal as Ulsan, Persepolis will be hoping Resan can once again put in another typical all-action performance.

Poll ends at 19:00 (UTC +8) on December 19.

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