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Vote for your best ACL2017 Team: Forwards

Kuala Lumpur: The 2017 AFC Champions League boasted an array of fine attacking talents with some world class performers gracing Asia's most prestigious club competition and a prolific Syrian rising to prominence. 

After deciding the top goalkeeper, the best defence in front of him and the playmakers in midfield, we have eight players of our 2017 AFC Champions League Best XI confirmed, so now it's time to complete the jigsaw by voting for the men to lead the line up front.

So, without further ado, here are the eight players in contention for the three places in attack. Review the nominees and then choose your favourites for this all-star XI in the poll below.

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Omar KhribinAl Hilal

  • 10 goals scored (#1 by a forward)
  • 22 shots on target (#1 by a forward)
  • Dribble success rate 59% (#2 by a forward)

In what was Omar Khribin's maiden AFC Champions League campaign, the Syrian was the standout striker among a host of more illustrious names, finishing as the competition's top scorer and so nearly ending with a winners' medal around his neck. So good were his performances, they earned him the 2017 AFC Player of the Year award.

Excellent movement in and around the box coupled with predatory finishing made him a defender's nightmare and, after netting thrice in the group stage, he rose to the fore in the knockout rounds. Khribin's five-goal haul in the semi-finals emphatically put paid to Persepolis' challenge, before he added another in the first leg of the final against Urawa Red Diamonds, only for Al Hilal to fall just short.

HulkShanghai SIPG

  • 9 goals scored (joint #2 by a forward)
  • 7 assists shots (#1 by a forward)
  • 29 chances created (#1 by a forward)

After making a brief appearance in 2016, it was 2017 when we got to see the true brilliance of Hulk: speed, raw power, expert finishing and a creative force, the Brazilian brought it all to the show. Such was his form, the only game he played in but didn't score was the second leg of the semi-final, having previously netted in all nine of his appearances prior to the loss to Urawa.

A piledriver against FC Seoul on the opening day was one of a number of fabulous goals, but it was against domestic rivals Guangzhou Evergrande in the last eight when he shone brightest. A goal and two assists in the first leg helped give Shanghai a commanding lead, but after a second-leg collapse Hulk struck a free-kick from distance to subsequently seal a penalty shootout and a dramatic win.

Rafael SilvaUrawa Red Diamonds

  • 9 goals scored (joint #2 by a forward)
  • 47.4% conversion rate (#1 by a forward)
  • 1.32 goals/90 mins (#1 by a forward to play at least six games)

Rafael Silva is another instinctive player in and around the penalty area, and the Brazilian proved the man for the big occasion time and again as Urawa went on to lift their second AFC Champions League. It could be argued that no player made as big a contribution to the Saitama side's success than Silva.

Silva struck the equaliser in an incredible quarter-final comeback against Kawasaki Frontale and headed home the winner in the semi-final against Shanghai. He then grabbed an all-important away goal in the first leg of the final before rifling home the winner late on in the return meeting at Saitama Stadium to seal the title.

Shinzo KorokiUrawa Red Diamonds

  • 4 goals scored, 4 assists
  • 273 passes completed (#1 by a forward)
  • 17 chances created (#2 by a forward)

He may not have been prolific in the 2017 campaign, but Shinzo Koroki's importance to Urawa's success cannot be understated. The Miyazaki native was a near ever-present, started all of their knockout rounds games and weighed in with crucial goals and assists throughout the competition.

Koroki scored one and made another in a Round of 16 comeback win over Jeju United before his goal began an even more remarkable fightback against Kawasaki Frontale in the quarter-finals. Sharp movement off the ball and excellent awareness then teed up teammate Yosuke Kashiwagi for a vital away goal in the semi-final in Shanghai.

AlanGuangzhou Evergrande

  • 7 goals scored
  • 21.9% shot conversion rate
  • 42 shots on goal

Playing as the main focal point of the Guangzhou Evergrande attack, Alan scored seven goals in 10 games, with group stage strikes against Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Kawasaki Frontale proving invaluable as the Guangdong team edged into the knockout rounds.

With Guangzhou 4-0 down from the first leg of the quarter-final against Shanghai, Alan's two goals at Tianhe Stadium kick-started a spirited comeback, but ultimately it was not to be as his side exited on penalties.

Mehdi TaremiPersepolis

  • 7 goals scored,1 assist
  • 35 shots on goal
  • 21.9% shot conversion rate

With Persepolis needing a victory to advance to the knockout rounds, Mehdi Taremi's hat-trick in the final group stage game against Al Wahda was one of the standout performances of the tournament as the Azadi Stadium side sealed a return to the last 16.

Then, with Al Ahli still in the contest in the second leg of the quarter-finals, Taremi held his nerve to slot home a late penalty and secure the Tehran side a place in the last four for the first time; however, he was subsequently ruled out of both games against Al Hilal.

Kaveh RezaeiEsteghlal

  • 6 goals, 3 assists
  • 12 chances created
  • 31.6% shot conversion rate

Kaveh Rezaei's goal-scoring form in the first half of 2017 ultimately paved the way for a move to Europe as he fired Esteghlal into the knockout rounds for the first time since 2013 with four goals in six group stage games.

When Rezaei remained calm to net a stoppage-time penalty and secure a 1-0 first-leg win over Al Ain in the last 16 things looked good for Esteghlal, only for them to succumb to a 6-1 defeat in the return meeting, with Rezaei scoring a consolation before departing for Belgium.

Yu KobayashiKawasaki Frontale

  • 6 goals scored, 3 assists
  • 31.6% shot conversion rate
  • 12 chances created

A classy player in a Kawasaki Frontale side that were so pleasing on the eye, Yu Kobayashi may well look back on the 2017 campaign with regret given that his side came so close to a semi-final place before falling just short.

Kobayashi scored a stunning volley in the last 16 win over Muangthong United, before his two goals in the quarter-final first-leg win over Urawa perhaps should have paved the way for a place in the last four, but a 10-man Kawasaki crumbled at Saitama Stadium.

The poll ends on Saturday, July 4 at 4pm (UTC+8). The Best XI chosen by fans and the best XI based on the 2017 statistics will be announced on Sunday, July 5.

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