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Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week

Kuala Lumpur: With club football action coming thick and fast throughout Europe and beyond, Asian stars continue to shine bright on the big stage.

This week’s poll includes history makers, goal machines and players helping unheralded clubs to previously unimagined heights, but who deserves the title of AFC International Player of the Week?

From eight AFC nations, here are our 10 contenders based on performances from October 21 to 27.

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Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, Korea Republic)
32 minutes, 1 goal, 1 shot assist (3-0 v LASK Linz)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 82% pass accuracy (1-0 v Burnley)

The winner of this award last week, and this poll’s equivalent of the first name on the team sheet, the Korea Republic star continued his outstanding run of form with goals in both league and European action.

Son’s late winner against Burnley on Monday made him the Premier League’s leading scorer with eight goals from six matches. In all competitions, he’s piled up 10 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 matches, making him one of the form players in world football.

Takefusa Kubo (Villareal, Japan)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 2 assists, 10 duels won (5-3 v Sivasspor)
64 minutes, 8 duels won (0-0 v Cadiz)

Japan’s wonderkid made a blistering UEFA Europa League debut for loan club Villareal, playing a direct role in their first three goals in a match they eventually won 5-3. Kubo’s standout performance, and first goal at the continental level in Europe, earned him a nomination as UEFA Europa League Player of the Week, potentially the first of many such honours for the gifted 19-year-old.

Abdulla Yusuf Helal (Slovan Liberec, Bahrain)
58 minutes, 1 goal, 13 duels won (1-0 v KAA Gent)

Having made history as the first player from Bahrain to appear in the UEFA Champions League last season, Abdulla Yusuf Helal is now also the first man from his country to score a group stage goal in the UEFA Europa League.

Having previously scored twice in qualifying, the towering striker positioned himself perfectly to find the net with a poacher’s effort last Thursday, helping Czech outfit Slovan Liberec to a terrific win over Belgium’s Gent.

Ali Adnan (Vancouver Whitecaps, Iraq)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 81% pass accuracy (2-1 v San Jose)

A semi-regular feature in this poll in recent weeks, the attack-minded Iraqi left-back cemented another nomination with a Player of the Match performance for Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps. The highlight of Adnan’s display was a sensational 35-yard free-kick, helping the Canadian side overcome a one-goal deficit to climb to eighth place in the league’s Western Conference.

Tom Rogic (Celtic, Australia)
30 minutes, 93% pass accuracy (1-3 v AC Milan)
86 minutes, 2 assists, 79% pass accuracy (3-3 v Aberdeen)

A player with ample talent, but lacking in recent game time, Australia’s Tom Rogic made the most of a rare start with a terrific individual performance for Scottish champions Celtic.

The classy Australian international pulled the strings for his side, setting up goals for Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths, although Celtic were forced to share the spoils in a six-goal thriller.

Karim Ansarifard (AEK Athens, IR Iran)
61 minutes, 4 duels won (0-3 v Sporting Braga)
72 minutes, 1 goal, 91% pass accuracy (1-0 v PAS Giannina)

AEK’s Iranian striker continued his recent habit of scoring in every second game, calmly putting away the match winning goal from the penalty spot against Super League opponents PAS Giannina. Ansarifard’s last three goals have all won points for AEK, making the former Iran Pro League top scorer an increasingly important figure for the 12-time Greek champions.

Saied Ezatolahi (Vejle, IR Iran)
*90 minutes, 1 goal, 82% pass accuracy, 17 duels won (3-1 v Aalborg)

The Team Melli midfielder is clearly enjoying his early days in Danish football, earning a place in this poll for the second week running after a scoring a sensational goal against Aalborg. The well-travelled midfielder tricked his way past two defenders before unleashing a terrific near-post finish to send newly promoted Vejle to the top of the Danish Superliga table after six matches.

Aias Aosman (Tuzlaspor, Syria)
74 minutes, 84% pass accuracy (2-0 v Ankaraspor)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 94% pass accuracy, 3 shot assists (3-1 v Adanaspor)

Another newly promoted club to have surged to the top of their league is TFF First League outfit Tuzlaspor, whose sensational early season form has been led, in part, by Syrian international Aias Aosman.

Having scored against Boluspor last week, the midfielder expertly stroked home Tuzlaspor’s equaliser against Adananaspor on Sunday, with the club from the Asian side of Istanbul – who have never risen this high in the Turkish football pyramid - going on to record an emphatic 3-1 win.

Valeriy Kichin (Yenisey, Kyrgyz Republic)
90 minutes, 11 duels won, 7 interceptions (1-0 v Spartak Moscow)
43 minutes, 1 goal, 7 interceptions (3-1 v Orenburg)

It was a week to remember for Kyrgyz Republic’s captain, who helped his Yenisey Krsnoyarsk side keep a clean sheet in a surprise Russian Cup win against league leaders Spartak Moscow, then found the back of the net from the penalty spot against Orenburg.

In his second stint at the Siberian club, Kichin has been part of a resurgence which has seen Yenisey win five consecutive matches in all competitions.

Allahyar Sayyadmanesh (Zorya Luhansk, IR Iran)
11 minutes, 1 goal, 6 duels won (4-0 v Rukh Lviv)

It may have only been a late cameo, but Iranian striker Allahyar Sayyadmanesh’s successful Ukrainian Premier League debut was all the more impressive given his busy weekend schedule.

On loan from Fenerbahce, and just one day after playing 82 minutes and supplying an assist for Zorya’s U21 team, the 19-year-old scored an excellent goal against FC Rukh, received the ball just inside his own half before dribbling his way into shooting range and finding the back of the net.

The poll has ended. Thank you for voting.

Photos: AFP, AEK Athens, AFC

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