Kuala Lumpur: As the resumption of the 2020 AFC Champions League draws ever closer, the remainder of the year will give some of Asia's brightest young stars the chance to shine in the Continent's most prestigious club competition.
With that in mind, this week's '5 of the Best' sees the-AFC.com wind back the clock to look at the emerging talent who have risen to prominence in years gone by as we shine the spotlight on teenage goalscorers.
Among the contenders are players who have gone on to win the English Premier League and represent one of the Netherlands' biggest sides after first showing their promise in the AFC Champions League. After reviewing the nominees, tell us your favourite at the foot of the article.
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Takumi Minamino – Cerezo Osaka
vs Buriram United, March 18, 2014
He's now one of the biggest names in Asian football but, prior to his move to Red Bull Salzburg and subsequently Liverpool, a 19-year-old Takumi Minamino was finding the back of the net in the AFC Champions League for hometown team Cerezo Osaka.
Against Buriram United, the forward takes a bouncing pass on the chest, cuts inside the defender and coolly slots home for the first of a brace as he showcased his considerable talent in style. Six years on and Minamino is now turning out for one of the top club sides in the world.
Devante Clut – Brisbane Roar
vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings, March 18, 2015
Either one of Devante Clut's two goals for Brisbane Roar against Suwon Samsung Bluewings would have been fitting entries on our list but the 19-year-old's rocket of an equaliser in the 3-3 draw was undoubtedly the pick.
With the Australians 3-2 down, Clut creates space for himself on the edge of the area and fires a vicious, dipping effort that flew over the goalkeeper and secured a point for Brisbane. It was, however, his final goal for The Roar.
Ritsu Doan – Gamba Osaka
vs Adelaide United, April 25, 2017
Like Minamino, Ritsu Doan started off his professional journey in Osaka – with city rivals Gamba – and he was another current Japan international who displayed his potential in the AFC Champions League before heading to Europe.
Up against Adelaide United, an 18-year-old Doan plays a neat one-two with Yosuke Ideguchi, spots the 'keeper out of position and sends a wicked, fizzing effort into the back of the net. Two months later Doan joined Dutch Eredivisie side FC Groningen before signing for heavyweights PSV Eindhoven.
Mohamed Al Akbari – Al Wahda
vs Persepolis, May 8, 2017
Al Wahda were 2-0 down against Persepolis when Mohamed Al Akbari rekindled their chances of advancing to the last 16 for the first time since 2007 with an absolute peach at Tehran's imposing Azadi Stadium.
Fully 30 yards from goal, the 19-year-old leaves the Islamic Republic of Iran's Number 1 Alireza Beiranvand flat-footed as he rockets the ball into the top corner. It was not to be for the Emiratis, however, as they lost 4-2 and were eliminated.
Suphanat Mueanta – Buriram United
vs Beijing FC, April 9, 2019
Last but not least we take you to northeastern Thailand, where Buriram United's Suphanat Mueanta became the AFC Champions League's youngest ever goalscorer after finding the back of the net in a 3-1 defeat against Beijing FC in 2019.
Having been on the pitch for only five minutes on what was his AFC Champions League debut, Suphanat latches onto a Luong Xuan Truong through-ball and finishes first time with aplomb. At just 16 years, eight months and seven days old when he scored, it may be some time before Suphanat's record is broken.
Vote for your favourite goal below (Poll ends at 1600 (UTC 8) on September 3).
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