Kuala Lumpur: An Il-bom of DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC has claimed the AFC Cup Top Scorer award after netting 12 goals in just 10 appearances in the competition.
The 4.25 SC captain finished two goals ahead of Bienvenido Maranon of the Philippines’ Ceres Negros and Sekou Sylla of Myanmar's Yangon United.
With 4.25 SC eliminated from the tournament at the Inter-Zone final stage by Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr, An's involvement in the AFC Cup was brought to an end at the penultimate stage.
But he remained on top of the scoring charts ahead of Saturday’s final between holders Air Force Club of Iraq and Altyn Asyr with Altymyrat Annadurdyyev of the latter the closest – on eight goals prior to kick off – still four goals behind the DPR Korean.
Annadurdyyev, though, was unable to add to his tally as Air Force Club ran out 2-0 winners and An’s 12 goals proved enough to confirm him as the top scorer.
An began his impressive scoring run with a late winner against another DPR Korea side, Hwaepul SC, 1-0 in their Group I opener. And the goals kept coming.
He scored a brace in Chinese Taipei, including a stunning curling effort from the narrowest of angles, as Hang Yuen FC were brushed aside 5-1, before adding another two in a resounding 8-0 victory over Benfica Macau.
In the return fixture in Macau, An drilled hard and low into the bottom corner to open the scoring midway through the first half. A third consecutive double followed from the spot as the game ended 2-0 and 4.25 SC went into a crucial return meeting against Hwaepul with their 100 percent record still intact.
Needing a point to secure a place in the knockout rounds with a game to spare, An broke the deadlock on 19 minutes and Kim added a second in a 2-0 win that sealed the title of East Zonal champions for 4.25 SC.
An plundered three more goals over the two-legged Inter-Zone Semi-finals as 4.25 SC swept past Home United 11-1 on aggregate, and he was on target again in the first leg of the Inter-Zone final, scoring in the 2-2 first leg draw with Altyn Asyr.
However, in the second leg in Turkmenistan, things went all wrong for the DPR Korean when, with an opportunity to put 4.25 SC 2-1 up, An saw his 54th minute penalty saved.
Vahyt Orazsakhedov was successful from his own spot-kick 10 minutes later, and it was to be the Turkmen side who would progress to the competition's climax.
An's 12 goals, though, would not be surpassed as the forward was confirmed the tournament’s leading scorer following Saturday’s final.