Kuala Lumpur: New faces, old favourites and players who simply cannot stop scoring – we’ve got them all in this week’s AFC International Player of the Week shortlist.
Mehdi Taremi and Sam Kerr continued their relentless scoring sprees, Jafar Salmani and Allahyar Sayyadmanesh showed the future is bright, while Musa Al Taamari and Tom Rogic made the most of returns to their club's respective starting line-ups.
But who was Asia’s standout performer outside the continent this week? Study the shortlist below, based on performances from February 10 to 16, and vote for the player you consider the most deserving.
See also :
AFC Champions League
AFC Champions League: Best Free-kicks of 2020
AFC Champions League
2020 AFC Champions League Technical Report published
FIFA World Ranking
Japan start 2021 as Asia's top ranked team
Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto, IR Iran)
87 minutes, 1 goal, 11 duels won (1-1 v Braga)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 83% pass accuracy (2-2 v Boavista)
Yes, there has been some thought given to re-naming this column after the Iranian striker.
You now expect goals from any match involving Taremi. This week he lobbed the goalkeeper in a Cup match against Braga, before kicking off a comeback with a deflected effort against Boavista to take his tally to 15 for the season.
Jafar Salmani (Portimonense, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 7 interceptions (4-1 v Gil Vicente)
Another Iranian player making a name for himself in Portugal is Jafar Salmani, the recently arrived former Sanat Naft Abadan talent who provided an assist in the opening minute before rifling home his first Primeira Liga goal in a 4-1 win over Gil Vicente
Maya Yoshida (Sampdoria, Japan)
90 minutes, 86% pass accuracy, 11 interceptions, 15 recoveries (2-1 v Fiorentina)
The ever-reliable Yoshida delivered a typically excellent performance against Fiorentina on February 14, repeatedly repelling attacks and recovering the ball on 15 occasions, his highest single-match tally since June.
Mahmoud Al Mawas (FC Botoșani, Syria)
87 minutes, 1 goal, 73% pass accuracy (2-1 v Gaz Metan Mediaş)
Few Asian players have surged into 2021 like Syria’s Mahmoud Al Mawas, who scored once again in Romania’s top division, defying icy conditions to net the winner against Gaz Metan Media - his third in his last six games.
Allahyar Sayyadmanesh (Zorya, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 1 assist, 17 duels won (2-1 v Desna)
Also thriving in bitterly cold conditions was Zorya Luhansk’s on-loan Iranian forward Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, who crafted a superb assist against Desna in a match which saw him link up with countryman Shahab Zahedi for the first time.
Sam Kerr (Chelsea, Australia)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 5 shot assists, 6 interceptions (5-0 v Bristol City)
Prohibitively wintery weather meant few of Asia’s women’s stars in Europe managed to take the pitch this week, but even the elements couldn’t stop the prolific Sam Kerr from adding yet another goal for Chelsea. The Australian star has netted nine times in 11 matches since the start of December.
Ji So-yun (Chelsea, Korea Republic)
90 minutes, 59 passes completed, 88% pass accuracy, 3 shot assists (5-0 v Bristol City)
Also instrumental in Chelsea’s 5-0 hammering of Bristol City was Korea Republic’s Ji So-yun, who drove forward at every opportunity and, on another day, could have finished the match with multiple assists to her name.
Musa Al Taamari (OH Leuven, Jordan)
67 minutes, 90% pass accuracy, 1 shot assist (3-1 v Kortrijk)
A highly productive return to the OH Leuven starting line-up for Jordan’s man in Belgium, who misplaced only three of 30 passes to help his side to an impressive 3-1 win. After a string of substitute appearances, it was the 23-year-old’s first league start in nearly two months.
Yuma Suzuki (Sint-Truiden, Japan)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 7 shots, 85% duels won (1-2 v Zulte-Waregem)
Staying in Belgium, where Yuma Suzuki played a prominent role in the match between Sint-Truiden and Zulte Waregem. The former AFC Champions League MVP scored, hit the woodwork and came close on several other occasions, but couldn’t prevent a 2-1 defeat.
Tom Rogic (Celtic, Australia)
87 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 16 duels won (4-0 v St. Mirren)
76 minutes, 80% pass accuracy (2-1 v St. Johnstone)
A welcome return to the scoresheet, and the AFC International Player of the Week shortlist, for Celtic midfielder for Tom Rogic, who scored in his customary languid style in a 4-0 thumping of St. Mirren. It was the Australian’s first goal since December.
Recommended Stories :
Generation Garuda: The Indonesian youngsters taking on the world
Generation Garuda: Marc Klok on Indonesia’s youngsters, growth during a pandemic and his own national team future
AFC Women's Asian Cup
The Asian Football Quiz - AFC Women's Asian Cup Edition