Representing six AFC nations, and plying their trade in eight different countries, our contenders have all delivered stand-out performances, but who deserves the title of AFC International Player of the Week?
Here are our nominees from October 28 to November 3
Koji Miyoshi (Royal Antwerp, Japan)
57 minutes, 5 successful dribbles, 12 duels won, 2 shot assists (1-0 v Tottenham)
15 minutes, 1 shot on target (0-1 v Anderlecht)
One of the major surprises of last Thursday’s UEFA Europa League fixtures came via Royal Antwerp’s 1-0 win over Premier League high-flyers Tottenham Hotspur, with Japan’s Koji Miyoshi making an impressive contribution for the Belgian side. Deployed in a right wing-back role, the 23-year-old was influential in both attack and defence, and would have had an assist to his name if not for a point-blank miss from teammate Dieumerci Mbokani.
Ali Gholizadeh (Charleroi, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 4 progressive runs (3-0 v Cercle Brugge)
Returning to this poll for the first time in over a month, Ali Gholizadeh turned in a terrific display for Charleroi, who ended their four-game winless streak with a 3-0 win over Cercle Brugge.
It was Gholizadeh’s goal – a mazy run followed by a terrific finish from an acute angle – which put Charleroi ahead in the 53rd minute, paving the way for a comfortable to win which keeps the club at the top of the Belgian First Division A standings after 10 matches.
Milad Mohammadi (KAA Gent, IR Iran)
90 minutes, 10 duels won, 5 interceptions (1-4 v Hoffenheim)
90 minutes, 1 assist, 84% pass accuracy, 7 interceptions (4-1 v Waasland-Beveren)
Also impressing in Belgium was Gholizadeh’s Iranian national team colleague Milad Mohammadi, who helped KAA Gent shrug off a heavy UEFA Europa League defeat with a 4-1 win over Waasland-Beveren on Monday. Mohammadi was convincing throughout, completing 42 passes and supplying the assist for the second of teammate Roman Yaremchuk’s three goals.
Jasur Yakhshiboev (Shakhtyor Soligorsk, Uzbekistan)
87 minutes, 3 goals, 1 assist, 17 duels won (5-1 v Belshina)
Already enjoying a productive first season in European football, Uzbekistan youngster Jasur Yakhshiboev turned in one of his best performances of 2020 with a hat-trick against Belshina on Saturday.
Starting with a 58th-minute free-kick, Yakhshiboev piled on three goals and an assist in the space of 23 minutes, taking his personal tally to 16 goals for the season and keeping Shakhtyor within a point of Belarusian Premier League leaders BATE with three rounds left to play.
Ahmed Yasin (Häcken, Iraq)
90 minutes, 6 successful dribbles, 16 duels won (0-2 v Djurgården)
90 minutes, 1 assist, 87% pass accuracy, 6 successful dribbles (1-1 v Hammarby)
Appearing for the first time in AFC International Player of the Week calculations, Iraq national team veteran Ahmed Yasin earns his nomination after two strong performances for Swedish club Häcken.
Yasin’s influence was particularly evident in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Hammarby, where he completed 33 passes and supplied a pin-point assist for Alexander Søderlund’s early goal.
Osama Rashid (Santa Clara, Iraq)
90 minutes, 3 shot assists, 7 interceptions (2-1 v Portimonense)
Another Iraqi player who stood out in the weekend’s European action was Osama Rashid, who was one of the better performers in Santa Clara’s Portuguese Primeira Liga win over Portimonense.
Playing in the centre of midfield, Rashid pulled the strings throughout the clash, helping the club from the Azores archipelago to fifth place on the league table.
Ellie Carpenter (Olympique Lyonnais, Australia)
90 minutes, 86% pass completion, 15 duels won (5-0 v Montpellier)
Returning to competitive action after the international break, UEFA Women’s Champions League holders Lyon put Montpellier to the sword in France’s Division 1 Féminine, with Australia’s Ellie Carpenter delivering another impressive 90-minute display.
The 20-year-old has proven to be worthy addition to one of football’s most dominant teams. Four months after her arrival at the club, the 20-year-old is a regular starter, and is still yet to experience her first defeat.
Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa, Australia)
90 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 79% pass accuracy (2-2 v Maccabi Tel Aviv)
A regular nominee earlier in the season, a lack of club fixtures has kept veteran Australian striker Nikita Rukavytysa out of this poll in recent weeks, but he made up for lost time with another standout display for Maccabi Haifa on Monday.
Appearing for the first time in a month, Rukavytsya had set up Tjaronn Chery’s opener then scored a sensational curling strike of his own within eight minutes of the opening whistle, taking his tally to 10 goals in his last eight matches, and bringing up his 50th league goal for Haifa since arriving in 2016.
Zhao Yujie (Florida State, China PR)
52 minutes, 1 secondary assist, 7 recoveries in opposition half (1-0 v Duke)
59 minutes, 1 assist, 1 shot on target (2-0 v Clemson)
China PR midfielder Zhao Yujie continues to shine for American women’s college heavyweights Florida State, playing in a key role in back to back wins over Duke and Clemson this week.
Credited with three goals and three assists in an abbreviated eight-game regular season, the 21-year-old Zhao has helped the 2018 national champions to a perfect record thus far, with the ACC play-offs to kick off next week.
Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt, Japan)
90 minutes, 1 assist, 3 shot assists, 4 successful dribbles (1-1 v Werder Bremen)
Rounding this week’s list is Japanese international Daichi Kamada, who was one of Eintracht Frankfurt’s best performers in their 1-1 Bundesliga draw with Werder Bremen on Saturday.
The former Sagan Tosu man was a regular attacking threat for his side and supplied the assist for Andre Silva’s 65th minute equaliser.