AFC Champions League (EAST) Toyota Player of the Week: Daiya Maekawa
Doha: Daiya Maekawa has been voted by the fans as the 2020 AFC Champions League (East) Toyota Player of the Week after the Vissel Kobe 'keeper was on fine form in his side's 2-1 semi-final defeat to Ulsan Hyundai as they narrowly missed out on a place in the final.
The 26-year-old custodian, who made an impressive six saves, gained 55 percent of the fans' votes while he was also rated as number one by Stats Perform – the AFC's official data provider – with a score of 7.3.
Particularly memorable was Maekawa's superb save in the fourth minute of extra-time when he threw himself to his right to tip away a shot from Yoon Bit-garam that had seemed destined for the top right hand corner before he also denied Bjorn Johnsen.
The match ended on a sour note for the Japanese goalkeeper, however, after he conceded the penalty in the final minute of the 30 added on which Junior Negrao converted to take Ulsan into the AFC Champions League final.
Rated second, with a 7.0, was Maekawa's fellow goalkeeper Jo Su-huk of Ulsan (above), who shone once again having topped the Stats Perform rankings at the quarter-final stage following Ulsan's win over Beijing FC.
Jo made one less save than Maekawa, but made 54 passes to the Vissel keeper's 41 and was on top form to deny Brazilian forward Douglas on a number of occasions. Having been number two to Jo Hyeon-woo for most of the domestic season in 2020, Jo will now stand between the goalposts at Asia's grandest stage on Saturday.
With a score of 7.0, Ulsan's Kim Tae-hwan (below) came next in the rankings, with the full-back in the thick of the action throughout, winning four fouls and boasting a flawless 100 percent passing accuracy.
The 31-year-old had a duel success rate of 80 percent and put in seven crosses, only Yoon Bit-garam (8) put in more. Kim also had 45 touches in his 65 minutes on the field as he helped guide Ulsan to a first AFC Champions League final since 2012.
Kim's teammate Bjorn Johnsen (below) was rated fourth in Stats Perform's rankings with the striker gaining a score of 6.9 in a game that saw him once again make a vital impact from the bench as the Norwegian steered home Ulsan's late equaliser to take the tie to extra-time.
Completing the top five was Vissel Kobe captain Hotaru Yamaguchi who opened the scoring in the semi-final with a smartly taken set-piece routine to earn a 6.9 rating, while perennial Stats Perform rankings stalwart Yoon Bit-garam of Ulsan made another appearance after his assist for Johnsen's goal saw him awarded a 6.8 rating.
The Toyota Player of the Week top eight was rounded off by Ulsan captain Sin Jin-ho, whose performance was also rated at 6.8, and his teammate Park Joo-ho on 6.3.