As we reach the halfway mark of the group stage in the ASEAN Zone of AFC Cup 2019, FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan picks the five best performers from Match Day 3.
1) MARWIN ANGELES (KAYA FC-ILOILO)
AFC Cup 2019: PSM Makassar 1-1 Kaya FC (Marwin Angeles – 90+3′)
After an impressive 5-0 rout of Home United on Match Day 2, it looked as though Kaya FC-Iloilo would be brought crashing back down to earth against PSM Makassar – until Marwin Angeles popped up with a dramatic 93rd-minute equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw.
The Philippines international’s determination even right at the death epitomised his side’s never-say-die attitude, but it was not just his scoring heroics that made him catch the eye.
Offering plenty of energy in the engine room and being tidy with his distribution, as well as never shirking his defensive responsibilities, Angeles is the type of box-to-box midfielder that is often underappreciated but continues to play a key role for his team.
2) JORDAN WEBB (TAMPINES ROVERS)
Highlights – Nagaworld FC vs Tampines Rovers
Tampines Rovers have made a fine start to 2019 on both the domestic and continental fronts and a key factor behind that has been the form of Jordan Webb, who produced an electric display in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Nagaworld.
While there was a touch of fortune in the way he equalised with a cross that was somehow allowed to creep all the way into the bottom corner, his second of the evening came after a trademark run from the left straight at the opposition defence.
His pace and trickery gave Nagaworld a constant nightmare but he also showed that he is still evolving even at the age of 31, as he played a deft flick over the top to release Ryutaro Megumi for Tampines’ fifth goal.
3) HO WAI LOON (HOME UNITED)
AFC Cup 2019: Home United 1-0 Lao Toyota (Abdil Qaiyyim 45′)
After going winless in their first six games in all competition of 2019, Home United’s resurgence continued with a second consecutive victory as they beat Lao Toyota 1-0.
Abdil Qaiyyim emerged as the goal-scoring hero and was a standout throughout but equally impressive was Ho Wai Loon, who was a constant source of enterprise from left-back.
It was his excellent freekick right on the stroke of halftime that led to Qaiyyim’s winner, and Ho’s dangerous left-footed deliveries regularly looked the likeliest source of goals for the Protectors.
4) KYAW ZIN HTET (YANGON UNITED)
Highlights – Hanoi FC vs Yangon United
While it was Maung Maung Lwin who pounced on a mistake to net the only goal in Yangon United’s shock 1-0 triumph at Hanoi FC, the Myanmar National League outfit would not have even come close to claiming maximum points had it not been for a heroic display from Kyaw Zin Htet between the posts.
Even before the visitors took the lead, the Myanmar international already produced a fine stop to tip away a Hoang Vu Samson header that looked destined to find the bottom corner.
And Kyaw Zin Htet went on to outdo himself with the game in the balance with 14 minutes remaining, reacting in time to parry a goal-bound curling effort from Do Hung Dung to preserve the win for Yangon.
5) STEPHAN SCHROCK (CERES-NEGROS)
Highlights – Ceres Negros vs Persija Jakarta
Ceres-Negros maintained their 100 per cent record in AFC Cup 2019 on Wednesday, with Bienvenido Maranon heading home a sublime cross from Martin Steuble to seal a 1-0 triumph over Persija Jakarta.
Once again, talismanic playmaker Stephan Schrock was integral to the Busmen with another effervescent display initially in the No. 10 role before dropping deeper into central midfield after Kevin Ingreso was replaced by Mahir Karic.
With his experience playing in the Bundesliga and Europa League, Schrock often looks a class above the rest and continues to be hugely influential even though he will turn 33 later this year.