FOOTBALL

Forwards to keep an eye on in the ACL group stage

The AFC Champions League group stage is about to get underway with the AFC website shedding light on the forwards likely to make a difference for their teams in the competition.

Forwards to keep an eye on in the ACL group stage
STR EFE

The AFC website highlighted the names of strikers foreseen to make an impact in the AFC Champions league group stage kicking off on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and India under the centralisation system, based on their impressive performances in their teams' domestic campaigns.

Bafetimbi Gomis (Al Hilal)

The AFC CL can be considered one of Al Hilal's talisman favourite competitions, as he bagged 11 goals in 14 games on his debut back in 2019, helping the team win the title. However, Gomis was unlucky last season despite netting three goals in three games as Al Hilal were forced to withdraw from the competition due to a covid-19 outbreak among their ranks.

The former Lyon forward goes into the 2020-21 AFC Champions League topping the Saudi Pro League scoring charts and looking to make up for last year's misfortune.

Omar Khrbin (Al Wahda FSCC)

The former Al Hilal striker Omar Khrbin who is now among the ranks of Al Wahda, is not new to the AFC CL, having been named the competition's top scorer when Al Hilal made it to the final in 2017. Since then, the player has suffered from various injuries ruling him out of Al Hilal's title-winning campaign in 2019. This yea,r Khrbin is relishing a successful run with Al Wehda, having netted six times in the league and once in the play-off against Al Zawraa that sent the team into the AFC CL group stage.

Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd SC)

Al Sadd's striker who won the tournament's golden boot in 2018, is one of those expected to deliver great performances in this year's campaign based on his history in the competition.

Bounedjah, who joined Al Saad in 2015 has been named this year's Qatari league top scorer having bagged 21 goals to help Xavi's men wrap up the league title unbeaten. It's also his second time in three years to finish the league's campaign topping the scoring charts.

Michael Olunga (Al Duhail SC)

Former Kashiwa Reysol frontman whose goals helped fire the team back into Japan's top tier, where he enjoyed a magnificent campaign having bagged 28 goals in 32 appearances to finish as top scorer of the J1 league.

The Kenyan goalmachine joined Al Duhail earlier this year and managed to score seven goals since his first appearance back in February, with the Qatari side hoping he can help them make up for this year's domestic failure with a successful run at the continental level.

Ayman Hussein (Air Force Club)

Despite having just turned 25, Ayman Hussein has vast experience with several Iraqi teams, in addition to a short stint in Tunisia. He has been at the Air Force club since 2019 and is currently on top of the scoring charts for the 2020-21 league season. Hussein's excellent finish in stoppage time that took the AFC Champions League play-off game against Saudi Arabia's Al Wehda into extra-time before his side secured a return to the competition for the first time since 2008 on penalties.