Mehdi Taremi, Sam Kerr, Ritsu Doan and more: Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week!
Kuala Lumpur: While Asian-based stars light up the AFC Champions League, the continent’s global ambassadors continue to shine on the world stage.
Among this week’s contenders, Ritsu Doan helps consign one of Germany’s biggest clubs to relegation, Mehdi Taremi continues his Portuguese purple patch and Sam Kerr plays a crucial role in the English title race as one of a record four women’s AFC International Player of the Week nominees.
With 10 players from five nations in contention, study our list of nominees – for performances from April 15 to 21 – and don’t forget to register your all-important vote.
Group A: Istiklol stun Al Hilal in AFC Champions League classic
Riyadh: A blistering FC Istiklol put themselves firmly in the race to win Group A, stunning AFC Champions League heavyweights Al Hilal SFC with a 4-1 win at Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium on Saturday.
Manuchehr Dzhalilov and Manuchehr Safarov scored twice each for the Tajik side, who overwhelmed Rogerio Micale’s side with a barrage of goals either side of half time after Bafetimbi Gomis had opened the scoring on 24 minutes.
The result – one of the shocks of the tournament so far – puts the debutants top of the group with two matches remaining, with Al Hilal’s inferior head-to-head record sending them down to second place despite both clubs having seven points.
Group A: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai power past AGMK FC to revive AFC Champions League hopes
Riyadh: A first half blitz powered Shabab Al Ahli Dubai past AGMK FC as the UAE side scored a crucial 3-1 win in their 2021 AFC Champions League Group A tie at the King Fahd International Stadium on Saturday.
The win took Shabab Al Ahli to four points to keep them within sight of Round of 16 qualification with matches against FC Istiklol of Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SFC to come.
Istiklol, who stunned Al Hilal 4-1 on Saturday, lead the group on seven points with the Saudi side second on goal difference. AGMK are on four points.
Golmohammadi happy with dominant Persepolis, Ferrando crushed after second AFC Champions League loss
Goa: It was a comfortable night for Persepolis FC after Yahya Golmohammadi’s men hit four goals past India’s FC Goa in Group E of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Friday.
Shahriar Moghanlou and Mahdi Torabi gave Persepolis a two-goal cushion going into the break before Kamal Kamyabinia and Isa Alkasir completed the win as the 2020 AFC Champions League runners-up made it four wins out of four.
The result means Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis will confirm their Round of 16 spot if they avoid defeat against UAE's Al Wahda FSCC on Monday.
Al Anbari praises Sharjah subs, Pakhtakor's Huistra remains hopeful after AFC Champions League draw
Sharjah: Sharjah FC head coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari praised his substitutes’ contribution as his late changes secured a 1-1 draw against Pakhtakor FC on Matchday Four of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Friday.
Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok opened the scoring for Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor as his team dominated play, yet Sharjah’s late substitutes Mohammed Khalfan and Abdulaziz Salem combined, the latter assisting the former with just three minutes left on the clock in the Group B tie to salvage a point.
Xavi ecstatic as Al Sadd stay on course in AFC Champions League
Riyadh: Al Sadd head coach Xavi was thrilled after his side beat Al Wehdat 2-0 to stay in sight of the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16.
Goals by Santi Cazorla and Ali Asad powered Al Sadd to their second win in Group D, placing them second with seven points, one behind leaders Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia.
Al Sadd will now set their sights on Foolad Khouzestan FC of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Monday, where another three points will set them up nicely for the group finale against Al Nassr three days later.