Hotshots: Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd SC) – 2018 AFC Champions League
Kuala Lumpur: When Al Sadd SC striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored 13 times in the 2018 edition of the AFC Champions League, the talented Algerian instantly became one of the competition’s all-time greats.
Indeed, Bounedjah rarely failed to shine after finding the net twice against Al Wasl FC on Matchday One, his impressive tally ensuring he joined Brazilians Adriano and Muriqui at the top of the AFC Champions League’s goalscoring charts for the most strikes in a single season.
Kuala Lumpur: After more than 250,000 votes, the fans' Best XI from the 2018 AFC Champions League has been decided with the final line-up featuring a host of standout performers from the competition.
The 2018 AFC Champions League was filled with classic matches, nail-biting moments and fabulous individual performances and, after reviewing the competition's key players, we present the 'Dream Team' as voted by you, the fans.
Below are the 11 players who made the cut on the public polls on the-AFC.com, while an XI by OPTA, the official statistics provider for the AFC, is also included as a comparison.
Kuala Lumpur: As the-AFC.com continues to look back at the stars from recent AFC Champions League campaigns, there is another glittering cast on offer this week as we shine the spotlight on the best midfielders from the 2018 tournament.
After selecting the 2018 competition's best goalkeeper and the four men to take their place in the backline, this week we move on to the more attacking positions by turning our attention towards the midfield positions and highlighting 10 standout performers.
A tournament that saw Barcelona legend Xavi finally make his AFC Champions League debut had no shortage of creative flair, so review the nominees and don't forget to vote for your favourite at the bottom of the article!
AFC Champions League 2018 Technical Report now available
Kuala Lumpur: The Technical Report and Statistics for the 2018 AFC Champions League is now available on the-AFC.com.
The report notes down in detail the complete journey of the participating teams from the preliminary stages to the thrilling final between eventual champions Kashima Antlers of Japan and Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis.
It also includes Kashima head coach Go Oiwa's evaluation of his team's performance, while AFC Technical Director Andy Roxburgh explores the technical talking points.
After over 1.3 Million votes from Asia’s football fans on the-AFC.com, Kitchee SC’s Cheng Chin Lung has been selected as the winner of the best goal of 2018 AFC Champions League
The 20-year-old Hong Konger scored a dramatic winner in Matchday Four against Kashiwa Reysol that ensured a historic first AFC Champions League win for both his club Kitchee SC and, indeed, the first victory in the competition for Hong Kong.
Tehran: Kashima Antlers claimed their first ever AFC Champions League title at a sold out Azadi Stadium on Saturday, drawing 0-0 with Persepolis to seal a 2-0 aggregate win.
Coming into the game with a two-goal advantage enabled Kashima to play a waiting game in the second leg, and they pressed and harried for 90 minutes to see themselves crowned as kings of the continent.
Tehran: Female football fans have expressed their appreciation to the Asian Football Confederation for making it possible for them to attend the second leg of the 2018 AFC Champions League final between Persepolis and Kashima Antlers at Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Saturday.
The presence of the female fans for the first time in 40 years in an official match at the Azadi Stadium was due to the efforts of AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, together with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran.
More than 1,000 female football fans joined a capacity crowd for the Continental showpiece which saw Kashima Antlers emerge champions for the first time.
The female fans shared their excitement and joy at being in the Azadi Stadium on social media.
Resan: Reaching the final is itself an achievement
Tehran: Persepolis midfielder Bashar Resan believes that their 2018 AFC Champions League campaign can still be considered a success, despite falling at the final hurdle on Saturday night.
A tough night in Tehran saw Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis fail to breach the backline of Japanese side Kashima Antlers, as a goalless draw was enough to see the AFC Champions League title lifted by a J.League side for a second year running.
Nevertheless, Iraq international Resan was in philosophical mood after the second leg of the final concluded at Azadi Stadium.
Tehran: Kashima Antlers' Kento Misao believes the 2018 AFC Champions League crown is a title that will one day help define his career.
The 22-year-old played a key role as Japan’s Kashima Antlers sealed their maiden continental crown with a 0-0 second leg draw away to Persepolis of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Saturday, after winning the first leg of the final 2-0.
The young Japan star was in no doubt as to the magnitude of the team’s success, and is sure it is a triumph he will look back on with great pride in years to come.