FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan picks the eight players who shone the brightest on Match Day 3 of AFC Champions League 2019.
Top 5 Goals – AFC Champions League 2019 Matchday Three
1) CHRISTIAN OSAGUONA (ZOB AHAN)
Zob Ahan have been one of the surprise packages thus far in AFC Champions League 2019, sitting pretty on top of Group A and unbeaten after three games.
It did look as though they would be in trouble on Monday when they fell behind to Al Wasl in the 15th minute, but have Christian Osaguona to thank for a fine comeback.
Equalising for the Iranians a minute later with a stooping header, the Nigerian then laid on an assist for Amir Arsalan Motahari and was an unstoppable force throughout the 90 minutes.
2) YAHYA AL-SHEHRI (AL NASSR)
In what proved to be a week of fightbacks, Al Nassr also came from a goal down to defeat Al Zawraa 4-1 to pick up their first win of the campaign.
Saudi Arabia international Yahya Al-Shehri was the star of the show for Al Nassr, finding the back of the net with a sublime freekick and also laying one on for Omar Hawsawi from a corner as his set-piece deliveries caused all sorts of problems for their opponents.
3) TAKAHIRO KUNIMOTO (GYEONGNAM FC)
Gyeongnam FC only have themselves to blame as they threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Kashima Antlers on Tuesday, but one man who cannot be faulted was Takahiro Kunimoto.
Highlights – Gyeongnam FC vs Kashima Antlers
Despite playing alongside a former Premier League man in Jordon Mutch, Kunimoto was the more impressive of the duo as he emerged as his side’s main creative outlet.
A dangerous cross in the 64th minute forced Tomoya Inukai into scoring an own-goal, before another fine delivery – this time from a corner – seven minutes later was swept home by Mutch to hand Gyeongnam what had looked to be an unassailable lead.
4) HARISS HARUN (JOHOR DARUL TA’ZIM)
For the second time in three games, Hariss Harun earns a place in the Top 8 following another indomitable display for Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Highlights – Shandong Luneng vs Johor Darul Ta’zim
Once again, the Malaysian debutants more than held their own against their more-illustrious opponents and ultimately narrowly lost 2-1.
Coming up against Belgium international Marouane Fellaini, who only last year played at the FIFA World Cup, Hariss never shirked any of his challenges and provided JDT with plenty of drive.
5) XAVI (AL SADD)
Xavi’s game has always been about more than just scoring goals, but that is not to say he cannot do it if and when he pleases.
AFC Champions League: Xavi scores stunning brace for Al-Sadd against Pakhtakor
At the age of 39, the legendary Spain playmaker rolled back the years on Tuesday with a sublime double in Al Sadd’s 2-2 draw against Pakhtakor.
6) MOHAMMAD NADERI (PERSEPOLIS)
Runners-up just last year, Persepolis are finally up and running in AFC Champions League 2019 after beating Al Ahli 2-0 following a one-point haul from their first two matches.
Shoja’ Khalilzadeh and Ali Alipour got the goals but arguably the most impressive performance came from left-back Mohammad Naderi, the 22-year-old currently on loan from Belgian outfit Kortrijk.
Offering plenty of energy down the flank, Naderi played his part in Alipour’s goal by keeping the ball alive before playing it back into the box, but was also part of a defence that did remarkably well to silence a formidable-looking Al Ahli attack.
7) DAIKI WATARI (SANFRECCE HIROSHIMA)
Sanfrecce Hiroshima remain the enigmas of the competition in 2019, alternating between outstanding displays when their starting XI is on the field and woeful performances when they opt to send out a completely reserve side.
On Wednesday, it was the former as they claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory over previously unbeaten Daegu FC.
Highlights – Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Daegu FC
Playing as an inside forward down the left, Daiki Watari was a constant threat and got just reward for his efforts with a fine individual goal in the first half.
8) ANDERSON TALISCA (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE)
Safawi Rasid or Talisca – Whose AFC Champions League screamer was better?
With previous experience with Benfica and Besiktas but having opted to move to Guangzhou Evergrande, it seems only a matter of time before Anderson Talisca returns to Europe.
His sheer ability has made him a standout so far in AFC Champions League 2019 and he got the Chinese Super League giants on their way to a 4-0 rout of Melbourne Victory with two goals inside ten minutes.
. @OfficialJohor Safawi Rasid or Guangzhou Evergrande’s Anderson Talisca — Whose AFC Champions League 2019 goal set your heart racing?
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) April 11, 2019
The second, in particular, was a sheer piece of brilliance as he cut onto his left foot outside the box before unleashing a sublime curling effort that had Matt Acton beaten all ends up.