Kuala Lumpur: At the midway point of the 2017 AFC Champions League Group Stage, the-AFC.com analyses the progress of the remaining 23 under 23 stars with the focus now on those in the East Zone.
READ THE 23 UNDER 23 PLAYERS IN THE WEST ZONE
Club: Urawa Red Diamonds
Minutes played: 180
One goal in and one assist in two games for Takahiro Sekine has capped a fine showing for the Urawa Reds winger so far, while he has also boasted a passing accuracy of 87%, higher than any other U-23 players in the East and eighth highest overall of players to play at least 180 minutes.
Club: Brisbane Roar
Minutes played: 206
Brandon Borrello was impressive in the AFC Champions League play-offs but, like Brisbane Roar, has struggled to replicate that goal-scoring form in the group stages. Nonetheless, of the 23 under 23 players, the midfielder is joint top in ball recoveries (14), third in touches (142) and fourth in duels won (11).
CHECK OUT THE FULL 23 UNDER 23 AT THE 2017 AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Club: Gamba Osaka
Minutes played: 135
Despite having played just 135 minutes so far, midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi boasts the highest number of tackles in our list with five. The Gamba starlet is also joint second in ball recoveries (12) with the two players above him having at least 45 minutes more playing time.
Club: Adelaide United
Minutes played: 215
Attacking full-back Ben Garuccio has delivered more crosses (12) and successful crosses (6) from open play than any of our other under 23 players in the East. He is also out in front with dribbles attempted (14), of which eight have been successful, and one of just two players on our list to have claimed an assist.
Club: Jeju United
Minutes played: 127
Jeju United won the only fixture in which Ahn Hyun-beom started – 4-1 at Gamba Osaka – while he has also come off the bench in their other two games. Despite not being afforded maximum game time, Ahn has proved hard to handle, winning 12 duels and drawing more fouls (7) than the other 12 under 23 players in the East.
Club: Kawasaki Frontale
Minutes played: 83
Koji Miyoshi has yet to play a full match, starting only once, but in his limited game time has attempted six dribbles and 44 passes. He also produced a composed performance in the centre of the park in the 1-1 draw with Eastern SC after his side were reduced to 10 men early on.
Club: Jiangsu FC
Minutes played: 180
Roger Martinez starred in Jiangsu FC’s opening two games before injury kept him out of the third. Despite playing just 180 minutes, the combative forward won more duels (15) than any of his under 23 compatriots in the East. Six shots and five attempted dribbles shows a striker full of purpose and confidence.
Club: Western Sydney Wanderers
Minutes played: 90
After Western Sydney Wanderers’ first two games resulted in comprehensive defeats, Jonathan Aspropotamitis got his first taste of action away to FC Seoul and the Australian side ran out 3-2 winners in a game that saw the young defender make eight clearances – second highest on our list despite playing just 90 minutes.
Club: Ulsan Hyundai
Minutes played: 32
Kim Seung-jun’s 32 minutes on the pitch came during one of the tournament’s most impressive performances to date – Ulsan Hyundai’s 6-0 defeat of Brisbane Roar. The forward cancompleted nineteen passes with an accuracy rate just shy of 80%.
Club: Kashima Antlers
Minutes played: 270
The only player on our list in the East to have played all 270 minutes, Naomichi Ueda boasts arguably the finest stats. One of only two players to score – in the 3-0 victory over Brisbane Roar – the defender has also kept two clean sheets, won nine duels and is out in front in terms of clearances (10) and passes (128).
Club: Muangthong United
Minutes played: 1
An unused substitute for Muangthong United’s first two fixtures, Suphan Thongsong came on in injury time on Matchday Three as the Thai champions drew 0-0 with Ulsan Hyundai to remain unbeaten at the midway stage of the group stage and on course for a first-ever last-16 berth.
Photos: Lagardère Sports & AFP