FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan picks the four players that shone the brightest in the second legs of the ASEAN Zone semi-finals of AFC Cup 2019.
After two enthralling duels, the ASEAN Zone final of AFC Cup 2019 is now set.
Vietnam’s Hanoi FC were the first team to advance from the zonal semi-finals on Tuesday with a dominant display, claiming a 2-1 win over 2017 winners Ceres-Negros to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
Then, on Wednesday, Becamex Binh Duong ensured it will be an all-Vietnam ASEAN Zone final as progressed on away goals following a 2-2 aggregate draw, despite losing 2-1 on the day to PSM Makassar.
Here, FOX Sports Asia looks at four of the best performers in the second legs of the zonal semi-finals.
1) NGUYEN VAN QUYET (HANOI FC)
While all the recent talk has surrounded Vietnam’s rising star Nguyen Quang Hai, it was the original master Nguyen Van Quyet who rose to the occasion for Hanoi against the Busmen.
AFC Cup 2019: Hanoi FC 2-0 Ceres Negros FC (Nguyen Van Quyet 64′)
The 27-year-old laid on an assist for Pape Omar Faye’s 59th-minute opener as he got in behind the opposition defence and waited for the perfect moment to play a precise return pass, which was clinically swept home by his Senegalese team-mate.
Then, five minutes later, Van Quyet pounced on a loose ball inside the area and finished in emphatic fashion to net what ultimately proved to be the winner, capping off a fine all-round display.
2) SEAN KANE (CERES-NEGROS)
On an evening where Ceres largely failed to live up to expectations, one man who can head back to Bacolod with his head held high is Sean Kane.
With Ceres boasting a plethora of star names, it is no surprise that Kane tends to fly under the radar and the fact that he has kept his place at right-back – at the expense of veteran Carli de Murga – is testament to his recent level of performance.
Despite being embroiled in a gruelling duel with Hanoi’s Doan Van Hau, Kane more than held his own and was easily one of his team’s better performers.
3) WANDER LUIZ (BECAMEX BINH DUONG)
Becamex Binh Duong have had quite the formidable attack boasting the likes of Nguyen Anh Duc and Victor Mansaray, but it is Wander Luiz that has largely led the way with five goals to be their leading scorer in the competition at present.
AFC Cup 2019: PSM Makassar 0-1 Becamex Binh Duong (Wander Luiz 45+4′)
And, in what could have been a tricky return encounter at the Pakansari Stadium, the Brazilian ensured his side’s nerves were settled by handing them an away goal in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, meeting Ho Tan Tai’s right-wing delivery with a fantastic header in off the bar.
Wander’s contribution proved pivotal indeed as – after PSM hit back to win the second leg 2-1 – it was the strike that sent Binh Duong through on away goals.
4) ZULHAM ZAMRUN (PSM MAKASSAR)
He may have started on the bench but, after coming on at halftime, Zulham Zamrun completely changed the game for PSM.
One of his greatest strengths is his ability to marry his energetic and direct style of play with an excellent final-ball delivery, which cannot often be said for many wide players.
AFC Cup 2019: PSM Makassar 1-1 Becamex Binh Duong (Ho Tan Tai Own Goal 75′)
Causing all sorts of problems for the Binh Duong defence, Zulham assisted both of PSM’s goals and it could easily have been the Liga 1 outfit advancing had he been on the field for the entire 90 minutes.