Kuala Lumpur: With the 2017 AFC Cup final this Saturday, the-AFC.com takes a look back at five significant strikes from the previous editions of the tournament’s showpiece.
There have been some spectacular games and goals alike, if we’ve missed out on your favourite let us know on our social media channels.
- Alaa Al Shbli – 2009 AFC Cup Final: Kuwait SC vs Al Karamah
The 2009 AFC Cup final was the first time the competition’s climax was played in a one-off format and the fans at Kuwait Sports Club Stadium were treated to a classic between hosts Kuwait SC and visitors Al Karamah of Syria.
A match that was punctuated by a touch of magic by the Syrians’ Alaa Al Shbli.
Having fallen behind just after the quarter-hour mark to a goal from Hussain Hakem, things were looking grim for Al Karamah as the game entered its final 10 minutes.
Midfielder Aatef Jenyat launched a hopeful ball into the area and fellow Syria international Al Shbli ghosted in to backheel the ball past Musaab Al Kanderi with an impudent flick.
Unfortunately for Al Karamah, Kuwait SC would have the final say when Ismail Sulaiman struck the winner in stoppage time, but it does not diminish the skill and panache of Al Shbli’s earlier effort.
READ MORE ABOUT THE 2009 AFC CUP FINAL* HERE.*
- Andrejs Pereplotkins – 2011 AFC Cup Final: Nasaf vs Kuwait SC
Anything Al Shbli can do, Andrejs Pereplotkins can do, too.
While the Syrian’s goal two years earlier was indeed memorable, Latvian midfielder Pereplotkins' goal in the 2011 AFC Cup final for Nasaf against Kuwait SC was arguably even better, particularly as it turned out to be the winner.
After an hour without a goal, Nasaf forward Ilkhom Shomurodov kicked off a manic eight-minute spell when three goals were scored.
Pereplotkins’ effort, sandwiched by Shomurodov’s opener and Boris Kabi’s reply for Kuwait SC, is unquestionably the pick of the bunch.
Latching on to a low cross from the right, Pereplotkins stepped over the ball and flicked it behind him with his instep, bamboozling Kuwait SC defenders and keeper alike to send the Qarshi crowd wild.
A sublime finish that would ultimately see Nasaf crowned Uzbekistan’s first, and to date only, continental title winners.
READ MORE ABOUT THE 2011 AFC CUP FINAL HERE.
- Rogerinho – 2013 AFC Cup Final: Qadsia SC vs Kuwait SC
Rogerinho was part of the Kuwait SC side that suffered heartbreak in the 2011 AFC Cup final against Nasaf, but a thumping 4-0 win over Iraq’s Arbil in the following year’s conclusion made up for the disappointment.
However, it is the Brazilian’s strike in the 2013 final we have chosen to highlight, and what a goal it is.
Facing fellow Kuwaiti side Qadsia SC at Al Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, Rogerinho received the ball near the halfway line and was given space to motor forward.
After advancing to within 30 yards of goal, the South American unleashed a sensational strike that arrowed past the despairing dive of Nawaf Al Khaldi, breaking the deadlock with Kuwait SC going on to win 2-0 and retain their AFC Cup title.
READ MORE ABOUT THE 2013 AFC CUP FINAL HERE.
- Leandro Velazquez – 2015 AFC Cup Final: FC Istiklol vs Johor Da’rul Tazim
While Leandro Velazquez’s winner in the 2015 AFC Cup final may not be quite as spectacular as the previous entries, there’s no doubting that the Argentine’s well-hit volley is among the most significant.
Coming 23 minutes in to the showdown between Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol and visitors Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia, Velazquez’s strike proved to be the goal that crowned JDT as the first-ever continental title winners from Malaysia.
READ MORE ABOUT THE 2015 AFC CUP FINAL HERE.
5. Hammadi Ahmed – 2016 AFC Cup Final: Air Force Club vs JSW Bengaluru
Last year’s winner wasn’t so much about the finish from Hammadi Ahmed, who tapped in to an exposed goal, but the magical footwork from Amjed Rahdi, who bamboozled three JSW Bengaluru defenders before finding Air Force Club’s hit-man to fire home.
Ahmed’s goal was the final entry to his astonishing tally of 16 for the tournament and a haul that secured him the competition’s Top Scorer and MVP awards as well as a nomination for AFC Player of the Year.
Air Force Club created history in 2016 by becoming the first Iraqi club to lift the AFC Cup.
They have a chance to add their names again in the record books if they join the clubs to have successfully defended it on Saturday.
READ MORE ABOUT THE 2016 AFC CUP FINAL HERE.
Photos: Lagardère Sports