AFC Cup: Team of the Group Stage

The Group Stage of the 2017 AFC Cup is over and FOX Sports Asia has selected the best XI from the ASEAN zone.

GK: Roland Muller (Ceres-Negros, Philippines)
There were plenty of goals in the ASEAN zone in the group stage, but Muller did better than most. The former Bundesliga shot stopper was solid enough as Ceres took top spot. When the pressure was on in Hanoi and Singapore, the ex-Koln keeper did what he had to do and kept his team in the game.

LB: Sirina Camara, (Home United, Singapore)

This French-born star is a versatile performer and can play anywhere on the left and even in the middle of defence. Not at his best in 2016, the 26 year-old gets up and down the left flank and has achieved impressive levels of consistency week in and week out and was solid for The Protectors as they eased into the knockout stage.

CB: Amani Aguinaldo (Global Cebu, Philippines)

The centre-back is only 22 but already has plenty of experience for both country and club. If he continues in the same vein then there is no reason why that experience can’t continue until the pointy end of the 2017 AFC Cup. Chipped in with a goal but his performances at the back suggest that he has a bright future indeed.

CB: Marcos Antonio (JDT, Malaysia)

There are few players who have racked up the same number of minutes in this competition as this commanding centre-back and he was leading the backline for the former champions through another successful group stage. He was excellent in the home win over Ceres with all of his experience showing through.

RB: Junior Munoz (Ceres Negros, Philippines)
The full-back enjoyed the AFC Cup in 2016 with Kaya and is back this time with Ceres. A tidy-player who is up and down the wing with impressive energy but has the experience not to get caught out of position too often. Munoz has enjoyed his group stage, standing out especially in the two games against Vietnamese rivals Hanoi.

MF: Song Ui-young (Home United, Singapore)

Just 23 but with plenty of experience, Song sits deep in midfield to protect the back four and worked hard to press Home’s opponents in the group, especially in the vital 3-2 win over Than Quang Ninh. Also has the engine to get forward when the situation allows and has been in good form this season at home and in Asia.

MF: Do Hung Dung (Hanoi, Vietnam)

It is sometimes unfortunate that Vietnam are blessed with many technically adept midfielders. The 23-year-old came of age in this tournament and showed his growing number of fans at home that he has what it takes to at least knock on the door of the national team . A growing maturity and ability to find a pass and keep a cool head when the pressure was on, impressed, and he contributed four very useful goals too.

MF: Paul Mulders (Global Cebu, Philippines)
Fans in the Philippines have been heard to wistfully wonder what it would be like if this Dutch-born midfield maestro was ten years younger. If he was 26 instead of 36 then perhaps he would be more of a box-to-box man but then maybe he would not have quite the same ability to read the game. And he did just that on more than one occasion in the group as Global won all but one of their group games. His three goals were handy too.

MF: Beinvenido Maranon (Ceres-Negros, Philippines)

The Spanish star impressed from the start of the group stage until the end, roaming around the attacking areas to find space and cause chaos. Seven goals in six games tells its own story but not the full one. Almost all were vital. He scored in the 1-1 draw in the tricky opener at Hanoi and then his two goals made a difference at home against the Vietnamese team. His last game brace at Tampines Rovers put the Philippines team in control of a game they had to win.

FW: Gabriel Miguel Guerra (JDT, Malaysia)

There was some concern in Johor when Argentine attackers Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Juan Martin Lucero left the Malaysian powerhouse after terrorising defences all over Asia. Fans needn’t have worried as Guerra has filled their boots with ease, at least in the AFC Cup. This Argentine attacker grabbed seven goals to help the Malaysians get through the group stage once again.

FW: Nguyen Van Quyet (Hanoi, Vietnam)

The Hanoi hitman is trying to fill the boots of national legend Le Cong Vinh in the national team with mixed results but when it comes to the AFC Cup, he is leading the line to fine effect. The 25 year-old scored five goals in the group stage and is becoming increasingly adept at bringing others into the game too. Works hard and makes things difficult for defenders even when he is not scoring. However, in the AFC Cup, he is scoring easily.

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