Kuala Lumpur: With the AFC Champions League Round of 16 fast approaching, the-AFC.com takes a look back at 16 key goals from the last eight years of this first phase of the knockout stage.
Ever since the Round of 16 was introduced at the 2009 edition of the tournament there have been some spectacular games and goals alike. Here is part one of our selection, from the 2009 to the 2012 tournaments.
1. Kim Jae-sung – 2009 AFC Champions League: Pohang Steelers v Newcastle Jets
The Korean midfielder has just completed his fifth AFC Champions League campaign with Adelaide United but it was his goal against another Australian team, Newcastle Jets, in 2009, that sees Kim Jae-sung begin our list. Kim dummied a shot with his left before cutting inside the area and onto his right to crack a missile into the roof of the net, the third goal in a 6-0 win for Pohang.
2. Alexander Geynrikh – 2009 AFC Champions League: Al Ettifaq v Pakhtakor
Uzbekistan international Alexander Geynrikh has often had a flair for the dramatic – be it selfie-taking goal celebrations or innovative penalty kicks – and in the 2009 AFC Champions League Round of 16 tie against Al Ettifaq he capped off things with a stunning winner in injury-time. Stepping up for the free kick from 30 yards out, Geynrikh’s finish was of the highest order, rocketing into the top corner past the despairing goalkeeper.
3. Eninho – 2010 AFC Champions League: Adelaide United v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Just four days shy of his birthday 29th birthday Eninho enjoyed a celebration to remember with this superb goal in the last 16 of the 2010 AFC Champions League. The ball found its way to the Brazilian midfielder on the left of the area and he cut inside before letting fly with a venomous shot that left Eugene Galekovic rooted to the spot.
4. Thiago Neves – 2010 AFC Champions League: Al Hilal vs Bunyodkor
Brazilian Thiago Neves enjoyed two highly successful spells at Al Hilal and scored plenty of memorable goals, this effort in the 2010 AFC Champions League Round of 16 is one of them. With Bunyodkor 2-0 down and caught up-field, Al Hilal hit them on the counter. Christian Wilhelmsson’s acrobatic volleyed pass sent Neves through on goal and his outside-of-the-boot finish was a peach.
5. Ko Myong-jin – 2011 AFC Champions League: FC Seoul vs Kashima Antlers
In similar fashion, Korean Ko Myong-jin took advantage of a quick break to ruthlessly punish an exposed Kashima Antlers in their last 16 meeting in the 2011 AFC Champions League. Latching onto a header back to the opposing keeper that was far too short, Ko skilfully flicked the ball over the advancing custodian before firing home into the empty net and seal the 3-0 win.
6. Abdullaziz Al Dawsari – 2011 AFC Champions League: Al Ittihad vs Al Hilal
In the Round of 16 in 2011, Abdullaziz Al Dawsari scored perhaps one of the finest consolation goals the AFC Champions League has seen. Already 3-0 down to bitter rivals Al Ittihad, the Saudi midfielder bamboozled one defender before he audaciously chipped Mabrouk Zaid from the edge of the area to momentarily silence the jubilant home fans.
7. Lee Keun-ho – 2012 AFC Champions League: Ulsan Hyundai – Kashiwa Reysol
At the end of the 2012 AFC Champions League campaign, Lee Keun-ho was crowned the AFC Player of the Year – and with strikes like this it is easy to see why. Chesting a bouncing ball into his stride just inside the area, the Korean caught it expertly on the volley to score Ulsan’s winner in their last 16 tie with Kashiwa Reyol. A goal worthy of deciding any game.
8. Matias Delgado – 2012 AFC Champions League: Al Jazira – Al Ahli (KSA)
A thrilling 3-3 encounter between Al Jazira and Al Ahli that saw the Saudis eventually win on penalties was not short of great goals. Argentine frontman Matias Delgado scored arguably the pick of the bunch. A fizzing low cross form the left was met by Delgado at the front post and he deftly flicked the ball with his heel into the back of the net. A sublime finish.
Photo: Lagardère Sports