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The Stats Wrap

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Persepolis (stats)

Kuala Lumpur: The 2018 AFC Champions League has been filled with drama, excitement, goals and surprises and, after the conclusion of the Round of 16 last week, will now take a three-month break before the eight remaining sides return for the quarter-finals in August. 

It’s well documented that Al Duhail have won eight games in a row and are closing in on a tournament record, and that both Baghdad Bounedjah and Youssef El Arabi are the joint top scorers on nine goals.

However, with the competition eight games in, dives deeper to look back at some of the other stats and facts that stand out after three months that has seen the number of teams reduced from 32 to just eight.

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Hot shots

Nine-goal Bounedjah is joint top (with Guangzhou Evergrande’s Alan) in terms of efforts on goal with the Al Sadd striker having 32 attempts in eight games, while El Arabi, who also boasts nine goals, has got his total from just 25 efforts on goal.

Bounedjah has posted a tournament-leading 18 shots on target and El Arabi has 15, with 28 and 36 percent conversion rates respectively. The two Qatar-based strikers will have the chance to add to their tallies in the quarter-finals.

The controller

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ Lee Jae-sung has seen more of the ball more than any other player in the competition to date, with his 658 touches in eight games above Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, who has 631 but has played a game less.

The Korea Republic international midfielder has been on fine form, creating 19 chances for his teammates and setting up two goals for the two-time champions. Lee scored an excellent free-kick in the second leg of the Round of 16 (video below) against Buriram United as Jeonbuk advanced.



Oscar winner

No player has created more chances for his teammates than Shanghai SIPG’s Oscar, who set up 28 goalscoring opportunities in his seven games and must have been disappointed that none were converted, before the Chinese team exited at the hands of Kashima Antlers.

The Brazilian finished ahead of some big names in this particular list as he was five in front of Ricardo Goulart and six ahead of FIFA World Cup winner Xavi. Four goals saw Oscar finish as his side’s joint top scorer but ultimately Shanghai’s form of 2017 was not repeated.

Saving the day

Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Bieranvand (pictured below) leads the way in terms of shutouts, with the Islamic Republic of Iran international keeping five clean sheets in eight games as the Tehran team progressed to their second quarter-finals in a row.

Bieranvand’s compatriot, Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri, made the highest number of saves over the first eight games, with the Zobahan custodian's 31 one above Buriram United’s Sivarak Tedsungnoen. Both ‘keepers, though, will play no further part after elimination in the last 16.

Take a bow

All four of Ulsan Hyundai forward Mislav’s Orsic goals were scored from outside the penalty area and the Croatian’s highly impressive total was his standout statistic from seven games in which he posted big numbers.

Orsic was a key attacking threat in Ulsan’s qualification to the last 16 as the forward created nine chances, four of which were converted, meaning he scored or assisted 50 percent of his side’s goals before going out to domestic rivals Suwon Samsung Bluewings.


Ulsan Hyundai assured themselves a place in the last 16 stage of the 2018 AFC Champions League after defeating Melbourne Victory 6-2 in Group F.

Attacking threat missed

Beaten finalists last year, Al Hilal retuned as one of the favourites for this season but, without their main attacking threat, 2017 AFC Player of the Year Omar Khribin, as well as key forward-thinking players Carlos Eduardo and Salem Al Dawsari, they found goals hard to come by.

With just under 64 percent of the possession in their six games, the Saudi team had more of the ball than any other side. But they netted just three goals as they exited at the group stage. Perhaps if their main scorers from last year were present, things would have been very different.

Busy at the back

Buriram United defender Andres Tunez proved dependable throughout as the Venezuelan made an incredible 72 clearances in seven games and the Thai side progressed to their first Round of 16 since 2013 before being eliminated by Jeonbuk.

Tunez’s tally was 21 ahead of Shanghai SIPG’s Shi Ke, while the Buriram defender’s 42 headed clearances – 16 in front of Al Sadd’s Morteza Pouraliganji – was also a tournament high in the first half of the continental campaign.

Pass master

Despite playing just seven of Al Jazira’s eight games, Moroccan midfielder Moubarak Boussoufa made more successful passes than any other player on the continent as his 421 was seven in front of Al Sadd’s Xavi, who has also made seven appearances.

Boussoufa was instrumental in Al Jazira’s first qualification to the Round of 16 since 2014 as they finally ended a 15-match winless run in the competition in their opening game of the campaign, before eventually exiting to Persepolis.

Photo: Getty Images

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