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Vote for your best ACL2016 Team: Forwards

Kuala Lumpur: The 2016 AFC Champions League witnessed some fine attacking displays across the Continent, with a record-equaling tally and two of the competition's greatest goalscorers both going deep into the competition among the highlights. 

We're just one position away from finding out who you the fans want as your Best 2016 AFC Champions League XI. The best goalkeeper has been decided, as has your defence and the playmakers in front of them, so now it's time to find 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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AdrianoFC Seoul

  • 13 goals scored (#1 by a forward)
  • 40.6% shot conversion rate (#1 by a forward)
  • A goal every 71 minutes (#1 by a forward)

The 2016 top scorer Adriano announced his AFC Champions League arrival with a four-goal debut away at Buriram United, before following it up by bagging a hat-trick on Matchday Two against Sanfrecce Hiroshima and adding two more away at Shandong Luneng as he began the competition in fine fashion.

While he was unable to maintain such a strike rate, the Brazilian scored crucial goals in the last 16 against Urawa Red Diamonds and quarter-finals against Shandong. Adriano, who returned to Seoul in early 2020, netted goal number 13 – a record-equaling tally for a single AFC Champions League edition – in the semi-final loss to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

RomarinhoEl Jaish

  • 7 goals scored (#2 by a forward)
  • 32 shots (#2 by a forward)
  • 17 chances created (joint #1 by a forward)

A Copa America winner with Corinthians in his homeland, Romarinho was another Brazilian who scored on his AFC Champions League debut, a 2-1 win at Al Ain, but it was in the knockout rounds where he truly rose to the fore, firing El Jaish to a best-ever semi-final finish.

Three goals over two legs in a Round of 16 win over Doha rivals Lekhwiya secured city bragging rights and a place in the last eight, where he was again on the scoresheet against Al Nasr. Romarinho then inspired El Jaish in the second leg of the semi-final against Al Ain as they so nearly overhauled a three-goal deficit only to fall just short as the Qatari side exited and he finished second in the scoring charts.

Dejan DamjanovicFC Seoul

  • 5 goals scored
  • 17 chances created (joint #1 by a forward)
  • 13.9% shot conversion rate

Dejan Damjanovic has been a feature of the AFC Champions League's top-scoring charts for many a year and, despite Adriano being FC Seoul's main goalscorer in 2016, the Montenegrin frontman produced his customary consistent form to help the Korean side into the semi-finals.

Three goals in the group stage were followed with vital strikes against both Urawa and Shandong in the knockout rounds. While the capital city side ultimately fell in the semi-finals, it was another steady year for a man who is currently the competition's second-highest scorer of all time.

Lee Dong-gookJeonbuk Hyundai Motors

  • 5 goals scored
  • 17.2% shot conversion rate
  • Scored more goals than any other Jeonbuk forward

And so to the tournament's record goalscorer, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' Lee Dong-gook, who began the campaign with a winning strike against FC Tokyo and ended it with his first AFC Champions League winners' medal.

The evergreen striker added to his three group stage goals with a quarter-final brace against Shanghai SIPG and, after coming off the bench in the first leg of the final against Al Ain, teed up Leonardo for Jeonbuk's equaliser. Lee, who now has 37 goals in the competition, started the return meeting as his side were crowned champions.

Abderazak HamdallahEl Jaish

  • 4 goals scored
  • 3 assists
  • 26.7% shot conversion rate

El Jaish must have wondered how far they could have gone had the prolific Abderazak Hamdallah not got injured after the Round of 16, particularly as the Moroccan had scored in back-to-back wins on Matchdays One and Two over their eventual conquerors Al Ain.

A goal in the last 16 victory over Lekhwiya proved his fourth and final scoring contribution of the 2016 tournament, in which he also weighed in with three assists. Hamdallah was absent from there on and there remains little doubt the Qatari side greatly missed a striker whose overall scoring record during his time in Doha was just shy of a goal a game.

Ricardo LopesJeonbuk Hyundai Motors

  • 3 goals
  • 12.5% shot conversion rate
  • 5 assists (#1 by a forward)

Ricardo Lopes was more of a creator of goals than a scorer in Jeonbuk's title-winning team, with the Brazilian boasting five assists to his name – a tally that was higher than any other forward in the competition.

His greatest contribution came at the business end of the campaign, scoring one and setting up another in the 4-1 semi-final first-leg win over FC Seoul before his away goal in the return meeting all but ended any chance their domestic rivals had of pulling off an unlikely comeback.

DouglasAl Ain

  • 5 goals scored
  • 14.3% shot conversion rate
  • 35 shots attempted (#1 by a forward)

While Douglas' campaign may have ended in heartbreak following his penalty miss against Jeonbuk in the final, the striker made a huge contribution in helping the Emirati side reach the showpiece event for the first time since 2005.

Goals against Zobahan and El Jaish in the last 16 and semi-finals respectively added to the three the Brazilian scored in the group stage, while his 35 efforts on goal was more than any other striker managed in the competition.

Igor SergeevPakhtakor

  • 5 goals scored
  • 33.3% shot conversion rate
  • 6 chances created

Although Pakhtakor were unable to reach the knockout stage of the 2016 tournament, the fine individual form of striker Igor Sergeev should still be recognised and, indeed, his goals – he personally netted half of the side's tally of 10 – kept the Uzbeks in the reckoning until the final Matchday.

In particular at home to Tractorsazi Tabriz on Matchday Three, the then 22-year-old netted the game's only goal, before a brace helped his side to three points in the penultimate group stage fixture against Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi.

The polls end on May 30 at 4pm (UTC+8). The Best XI chosen by fans and the best XI based on the 2016 statistics will be announced at the end of May.

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