Ćeran the hat-trick hero as Pakhtakor complete domestic double
Tashkent: Serbian star Dragan Ćeran scored a brilliant hat-trick as FC Pakhtakor completed a domestic double by lifting the Uzbekistan Cup, defeating defending champions AGMK 3-0 at Lokomotiv Stadium on Saturday.
Čeran scored the first half-opener and two more after the interval to guide Pakhtakor to a record-extending 12th Uzbekistan Cup and continue a stunning individual campaign, which has also produced 22 goals in 21 league appearances.
AGMK had been hoping to qualify for the Preliminary Stage of the 2020 AFC Champions League with victory in the match, but Mirdjalal Kasimov’s side were unable to repeat their 3-1 win from the 2018 decider.
Pakhtakor’s place in next year’s ACL has already been secured by virtue of their runaway Uzbekistan Super League title win.
ACL 2019 Allianz Goal of the Week: Bafetimbi Gomis (Al Hilal SFC)
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com announced on Friday that Al Hilal's Bafetimbi Gomis is the winner of this week’s Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final second legs.
ACL 2019 SF Second Leg Toyota Player of the Week: Shusaku Nishikawa
Kuala Lumpur: Shusaku Nishikawa has been named as the Toyota Player of the Week after the goalkeeper's stand-out performance in Urawa Red Diamonds' 1-0 victory away at Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday helped his side into the 2019 AFC Champions League Final.
The custodian had blanked Guangzhou's dangerous attacking line-up in the first leg in Saitama at the beginning of October and he recorded a second clean sheet at the intimidating Tianhe Stadium.
Unlike in Japan, where he was rarely troubled, Nishikawa was called into action on multiple occasions in southern China and pulled off eight saves, the highest in the knockout stage and joint-third highest overall at the 2019 AFC Champions League, to earn an 8.7 rating.
On the same pitch but wearing the red shirt of Guangzhou, Zhang Linpeng(below), came in second in this week’s rankings after the full-back put in an impressive shift despite his side ultimately failing to progress to a third final.
Analysis: Urawa get game plan spot on against goal-shy Guangzhou
Kuala Lumpur: Urawa Red Diamonds got their tactics right to secure a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League final after Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Guangzhou Evergrande in the second leg of the semi-final saw the J.League side progress 3-0 on aggregate.
A 2-0 first-leg win meant Urawa took a strong advantage into the return meeting at Tianhe Stadium, although Guangzhou had gone 21 home games unbeaten on the Continent and had never been eliminated by a Japanese side in the knockout stage.
Guangzhou: Fabio Cannavaro called on Chinese football to learn from the work being done to develop talent in Japan after seeing his Guangzhou Evergrande side become the latest Chinese Super League club to exit the 2019 AFC Champions League at the hands of Urawa Red Diamonds.
Guangzhou’s quest for a third continental title came to an end on Wednesday when Shinzo Koroki’s second half header ensured Urawa added the Chinese Super League leaders’ scalp to that of Beijing FC and Shanghai SIPG.
Urawa eliminated Beijing in the group phase before defeating Shanghai in the quarter-finals and claimed their third Chinese victim at the Tianhe Stadium when they finished off a 3-0 aggregate win over Cannavaro’s team.
Riyadh: Tuesday night brought Al Hilal a mix of disappointment at the heavy defeat at home and joy for reaching the 2019 AFC Champions League final.
There were calls to celebrate, apologies and careful reflections as Al Hilal players took to social media after a night that saw them suffer a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Qatar's Al Sadd; one of the heaviest home losses of the Blues' AFC Champions League history. But it was also a night when they secured a ticket to the competition's final for the third time in six years.