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Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week

Kuala Lumpur: After last week’s poll produced a maiden female winner, the search for the best performing Asian footballer outside the continent continues with a new batch of candidates.

In this week’s list of Asian world-beaters, a teenager helps bring down one of the world’s biggest clubs, a regular nominee shows why he has been voted his club’s player of the season, plus goals in England, Portugal, Belgium and Sweden

Who deserves the title of AFC International Player of the Week? Here are our contenders from November 4 to 10.

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Lee Kang-in (Valencia, Korea Republic)
81 minutes, 86% pass accuracy, 8 duels won (4-1 v Real Madrid)

He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but Korea Republic’s 19-year-old wonderkid was influential as Valencia scored a commanding win against none other than Real Madrid.

Lee caused headaches throughout his 81-minute appearance, contributing to several promising attacks and very nearly finding the back of the net, with only a combination of Thibault Courtois and the woodwork preventing him from doing so.

Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto, IR Iran)
67 minutes, 1 goal, 82% pass accuracy (3-1 v Portimonense)

The scorer of 18 Primeira Liga goals last season, Mehdi Taremi hasn’t had it all his way sinnce joining Portuguese giants Porto in August, but he enjoyed one of his happiest moments yet in the famous blue and white stripes on Sunday.

With their match against Portimonense locked a 1-1 at half-time, the Islamic Republic of Iran forward powered home a thumping header to register his first league goal for his new club, capping an impressive overall performance, and helping his club to an important win.

Ali Adnan (Vancouver Whitecaps, Iraq)
89 minutes, 1 assist, 84% pass accuracy, 4 interceptions (3-0 v LA Galaxy)

In a week where he won Vancouver’s Player of the Season and Goal of the Season awards, Ali Adnan gave a fresh reminder of his terrific 2020 form with another fine showing against LA Galaxy.

The Iraqi star once again contributed well in both attack and defence, delivering a terrific cross to supply Fredy Montero’s first goal as the Canadian club ended their league campaign on a high.

Ji So-yun (Chelsea, Korea Republic)
78 minutes, 1 goal, 100% pass accuracy (into final third) (4-0 v Everton)

Fresh from an impressive central midfield display against Tottenham five days earlier, the all-time top scorer for the Korean women’s national team thrived in a more attacking role as her Chelsea side proved too strong for Everton.

Ji got the ball rolling for the defending FA Women’s Super League champions, punishing a defensive error by steering home a superb volley in the 16th minute, paving the way for a thumping 4-0 win.

Junya Ito (KRC Genk, Japan)
90 minutes, 1 assist, 8 successful dribbles, 13 duels won (2-1 v Sint-Truiden)

Earning his first nomination in our list of Asian high-achievers is KRC Genk’s Japanese international Junya Ito, who was one of the best players on the pitch as Genk beat Sint-Truiden in Belgium’s First Division A on Saturday.

In a match where his compatriot Yuma Suzuki found the net for Sint-Truiden, Ito was a constant source of danger on the right wing, as underlined by his clever backheel assist for the game’s opening goal.

Emily Gielnik (Vittsjö GIK, Australia)
90 minutes, 3 goals, 1 assist (4-0 v KIF Örebro DFF)

A regular goal threat all season for Sweden’s Viitsjö, Australian women’s national team forward Emily Gielnik was particularly dominant during Saturday’s clash against Örebro.

The former Bayern Munich player was the undoubted star of the show, bagging a hat-trick and setting up a further goal, and Australian fans won’t have to wait long to see her again. The 28-year-old’s imminent return to Brisbane Roar was confirmed on Tuesday.

Ali Gholizadeh (Charleroi, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 83% pass accuracy, 6 successful dribbles (3-3 v Mechelen)

Team Melli’s Ali Gholizadeh continued his excellent season in the Belgian top-flight, scoring his second goal in as many matches for high-flying Charleroi.

Making the most of a misplaced pass from his opponents, Gholizadeh showed composure and class to score his third goal of the campaign, although Charleroi’s failure to win the match saw them slip to second on the league table.

Kaveh Rezaei (Charleroi, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 3 recoveries in opp. Half (3-3 v Mechelen)

Gholizadeh’s success with Charleroi has gone hand-in-hand with his partnership with Iranian teammate Kaveh Rezaei, who rekindled his sparkling early season form by scoring in the same match.

After a five-match goalless streak, Rezaei scored with a terrific headed goal to take his tally to an impressive six in 10 league matches in the 2020-21 campaign, bringing him a step closer to the 50-goal milestone in the top division of Belgian football.

Aias Aosman (Tuzlaspor, Syria)
82 minutes, 1 assist, 93% pass accuracy (1-1 v Ümranıyespor)

Another player enjoying consistently good performances is Syrian midfielder Aias Aosman, who delivered another standout showing for Tuzlaspor in the Turkish First League on Saturday.

The 26-year-old found the target with a stunning 56 out of 60 passes and provided a magnificent assist for his side’s only goal, more than justifying Nabil Maâloul’s decision to select him for Syria’s matches against Uzbekistan and Jordan this week.

Tom Rogic (Celtic, Australia)
90 minutes, 90% accuracy, 11 duels won (1-4 v Sparta Prague)
84 minutes, 1 assist, 3 shot assists (4-1 v Motherwell)

Rounding our 10-player shortlist is Tom Rogic, whose return to the Celtic first team has seen him set up four goals in the space of five matches in 15 action-packed days.

The Australian’s latest assist came in the weekend’s 4-1 league win over Motherwell, which provided the defending Scottish champions with a much-needed fillip after a disappointing UEFA Europa League defeat against Sparta Prague.

This poll has ended. Thank you for voting.

Photos: AFP, Vittsjö GIK

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