FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan picks the six best performers on Match Day of AFC Cup 2019 ASEAN Zone action.
1) VICTOR MANSARAY (BECAMEX BINH DUONG)
With Becamex Binh Duong leading Shan United 2-0 at the break on Tuesday, their main man in attack decided to step up and transform the second half into “the Victor Mansaray show”.
AFC Cup 2019: Becamex Binh Duong 4-0 Shan United (Victor Mansaray 61′)
In the span of 18 minutes, Mansaray netted a hat-trick with his second goal the pick of the bunch as he pounced on a loose ball and found the back of the net with a lovely rifled shot on the swivel.
The 22-year-old American also added assists for Nguyen Anh Duc and Ali Rabo to cap off a fine, all-round display and assert his ever-increasing influence for Binh Duong.
2) WILJAN PLUIM (PSM MAKASSAR)
PSM Makassar gained control of Group H on Wednesday afternoon as they claimed the outright lead by beating Kaya FC-Iloilo 2-1 in a heated encounter.
While their goals came from Rizki Pellu and Eero Markkanen, it was captain Wiljan Pluim who stood out with a fine display.
AFC Cup 2019: Kaya FC 0-1 PSM Makassar (Rizky Pellu 21′)
He showed excellent skill to dance free inside the box and clip a lovely cross for Pellu to head home the opener and was a constant presence down the right, before filling in admirably in defence in the second half after regular centre-back Abdul Rahman Sulaiman was sent off.
3) MIN KYAW KHANT (YANGON UNITED)
While Yangon United may have been on the receiving end of a 5-2 loss to Hanoi FC on Wednesday, it certainly was not for lack of trying on Min Kyaw Khant’s part.
The adventurous full-back was a constant threat bombing down the left flank and weighed in with two assists for the Myanmar National League outfit.
AFC Cup 2019: Yangon United 2-1 Hanoi FC (Vinicius Miller 26′)
His first was a neat cross that was converted by Sekou Sylla but the second was an even better delivery that was delivered straight at the feet of Vinicius Miller, who made no mistake in side-footing into the back of the net to hand Yangon what was a 2-1 lead at that point in time.
4) PAPE OMAR FAYE (HANOI FC)
Despite initially trailing 2-1, Hanoi ultimately turned things around to get back on track with a convincing win over Yangon and no one stood out more than Pape Omar Faye.
While he was not the focal point in attack, the Senegalese caused all sorts of problems for the opposition defence, opening the scoring as early as the third minute when he ghosted into the six-yard box to finish off Nguyen Quang Hai’s slide-rule pass across the face of goal.
AFC Cup 2019: Yangon United 2-5 Hanoi FC (Pape Omar Faye 83′)
Faye struck again in the 81st minute with a towering header from Nguyen Truong Thai Quy’s corner, before completing his hat-trick two minutes later as he benefitted from some indecision by the Yangon defence to find the bottom corner with a clinical finish.
5) JORDAN WEBB (TAMPINES ROVERS)
For the second consecutive round, Jordan Webb gets the nod as one of the top players in the ASEAN Zone with another virtuoso display that must make the Nagaworld defenders sick of the sight of him in what turned out to be a 4-2 win for Tampines Rovers.
Causing all sorts of problems down the left wing, the Canadian’s sheer pace and skill saw him break free to lay on what proved to be the go-ahead goal for Yasir Hanapi in the 91st minute.
AFC Cup 2019: Tampines Rovers 4-2 Nagaworld FC (Jordan Webb 90+7′)
And, deep into injury-time, a similar enterprising run saw Webb net his fourth goal of the continental campaign to seal what proved to be a hard-fought but deserved triumph for the Stags.
6) SONG UI-YOUNG (HOME UNITED)
After having to endure his fair share of injury problems thus far in 2019, Song Ui-young announced his return to AFC Cup football with a well-taken brace as Home United toiled to a 3-2 win over Lao Toyota that keeps alive their hopes of emulating last season’s success in the ASEAN Zone.
AFC Cup 2019: Lao Toyota 1-1 Home United (Song Ui-young 14′)
While not the most aerially-imposing of attackers, the South Korean opened his account with a towering header in the 15th minute before converting a penalty five minutes before halftime.
The Protectors may not have had the best of starts to their continental campaign but, with their talisman back in the side, they might yet stand a chance of pipping PSM Makassar to top spot in Group H and securing a guaranteed berth in the zonal semi-finals.