Taremi, Shomuordov, Ji So-yun and more: Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week!
Kuala Lumpur: Thumping free-kicks, last-minute equalisers and virtuoso midfield performances were among this week’s standout Asian football exports.
Goals in England, Italy, Spain and more, plus standout displays elsewhere in Europe were the order of the week, with 10 players from six different nations making their way onto our latest list of the best of Asian football outside the continent.
Based on performances from April 22 to 28, these are our contenders for AFC International Player of the Week. Don’t forget to make your voice heard!
2021 AFC Champions League (West): Round of 16 cast finalised
Riyadh: The 2021 AFC Champions League (West) Round of 16 cast was finalised following the conclusion of the Group Stage on Friday.
As Groups A and C brought the thrilling group stage to a close on Friday, the West Round of 16 cast saw several of the continent's biggest club sides missing out with Qatar's Al Sadd SC and Al Duhail SC and Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli Saudi FC among those who exited the tournament.
Group A: Al Hilal through to AFC Champions League last 16 stage despite shock loss to Shabab Al Ahli
Riyadh: Al Hilal SFC advanced to the AFC Champions League knockout stage as one of the best three group runners-up despite suffering a 2-0 defeat against already eliminated Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in their final Group A match on Friday.
Needing to better the result of group leaders FC Istiklol – who lost 2-1 to AGMK FC in their match – the 2019 champions fell victim to a pair of Igor Jesus goals to find themselves second in the group and on the brink of elimination.
But they ultimately survived by virtue of the 1-1 Group C draw between Al Ahli and Al Duhail, a result which ensured Al Hilal would advance to the Round of 16 more than an hour after they completed their match.
Group A: Istiklol seal AFC Champions League last 16 ticket despite defeat to AGMK
Riyadh: FC Istiklol advanced to the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 despite losing 2-1 to AGMK FC after closest rivals Al Hilal SFC were defeated by UAE's Shabab Al Ahli Dubai on Friday.
The defeats left both teams on 10 points with debutants Istiklol of Tajikistan finishing as group winners thanks to a better head to head record against Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, the 2019 AFC Champions League winners.
Group C: Stalemate ends Al Duhail, Al Ahli Saudi's AFC Champions League campaigns
Jeddah: Al Ahli Saudi FC and Qatar’s Al Duhail played out a 1-1 draw on Matchday Six of the 2021 AFC Champions League Group C on Saturday, ending both teams’ chances of qualification to the Round of 16.
The two sides came into the match knowing only a win would secure a place in the next stage while a draw would mean both sides would be eliminated at the group stage. With that in mind, both teams spared no effort to attack their opponents producing thrilling end-to-end action throughout the 90 minutes.
Al Wahda’s ten Cate ecstatic with AFC Champions League Round-of-16 progress
Goa: Head coach Henk ten Cate expressed his happiness following Al Wahda’s 2-0 win over India’s FC Goa on Matchday Six, which sealed the UAE club's place in the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 on Thursday.
The Abu Dhabi-based side advanced to the Round of 16 as one of the best three second-placed finishers, alongside Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis, who finished as group winners after registering a 4-2 win against Qatar’s Al Rayyan.