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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!

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Eldor Shomurodov (Genoa CFC, Uzbekistan)
32 minutes,1 goal, 83% pass accuracy (2-0 v Spezia)

A return to the winner’s circle for Genoa was confirmed by a return to the scoresheet for Eldor Shomurodov, who scored arguably his best goal yet in Serie A, outpacing the Spezia defence before curling home a beauty from 25 yards to end a two-month drought.


Gaku Shibasaki (CD Leganés, Japan)
86 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 84% pass accuracy (2-1 v Alcorcón)

A performance to remember for Japanese international Gaku Shibasaki, who scored the equaliser then set up the winner in Leganés’ come-from-behind victory over Alcorcón in the Spanish Segunda Division, keeping them well in the promotion race.


Ji So-yun (Chelsea, Korea Republic)
90 minutes, 70 passes completed, 96% pass accuracy (1-2 v Bayern Munich)

Chelsea suffered a rare defeat in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, but no blame whatsoever could be levelled at Ji So-yun.

The Korean star excelled in her centre midfield role, and very nearly gave her side a share of the spoils when she rattled the crossbar from distance in the 72nd minute.


Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto, IR Iran)
79 minutes, 2 shots, 2 shot assists (1-0 v Vitoria Guimarães)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 81% pass accuracy (1-1 v Moreirense)

Surely the most popular player in Asia in recent weeks, Taremi’s recent purple patch continued as he powered home an 86th-minute penalty to save Porto from defeat in the league.

The FC Porto star now scored four goals in his last five matches, and 19 in all competitions this season.


Ali Alipour (Maritimo, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 81% pass accuracy (1-0 v Boavista)

While Taremi is currently the best-known Team Melli star in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, he is far from the only Iranian to been performing well in the division, with Ali Alipour continuing his recent uplift in form to strike the winner for Maritimo against Boavista on Sunday.


Ella Mastrantonio (Bristol City, Australia)
37 minutes, 1 goal, 79% pass accuracy, 7 duels won (2-2 v Aston Villa)

Fresh from making her first international appearance in over 12 years earlier in April, Australia’s Ella Mastrantonio made a major impact on Bristol City’s stunning late recovery against Aston Villa.

Mastrantonio’s free-kick goal may have been somewhat fortuitous, but her side’s brave fightback was justly rewarded in a breathless clash between relegation rivals.


Alanna Kennedy (Tottenham Hotspur, Australia)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 84% pass accuracy, 64% duels won (1-4 v Manchester United)

Things didn’t quite go to plan for Alanna Kennedy’s Spurs against a star-studded Manchester United on Sunday, but the Australian star did provide the game’s outstanding moment, netting a magnificent free-kick in the dying seconds.


Jiloan Hamad (HNK Gorica, Iraq)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 39 passes completed (4-2 Lokomotiva Zagreb)

Jiloan Hamad started this six-goal thriller with a sensational free-kick, then ended it with the match-sealing assist as his HNK Gorica side ended a five-match winless streak in style. Despite their indifferent form, Gorica remain third in the Croatian top flight.


Jackson Irvine (Hibernian, Australia)
120 minutes, 1 goal, 2 shot assists, 15 duels won (2*-2 v Motherwell)

Following up from a star turn from club and international teammate Martin Boyle last week, Jackson Irvine took centre stage this time, finding the back of the net as part of a strong all-round display as Hibernian went through to the Scottish FA Cup semi-finals on penalties.


Allahyar Sayyadmanesh (Zorya Luhansk, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 11 duels won, 1 shot assist (2-1 v Olimpik Donetsk)
90 minutes, 1 goal (1-2 v Olimpik Donetsk)

Back-to-back matches against Olimpik Donetsk produced one win and one defeat for Allahyar Sayyadmanesh’s Zorya, and while his countryman Shahab Zahedi netted the winner on Sunday, it was the youngster who came to the fore on Wednesday, netting a superb goal on the counterattack: his fifth of the season in the Ukrainian Premier League.

Photos: AFP, Jiloan Hamad, Jackson Irvine

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