The Asian Cup enters the knockout stage on Sunday in Qatar, featuring exciting matches such as Australia versus Indonesia and Tajikistan against the United Arab Emirates. Amidst the competition, five standout players have illuminated the group phase.
Aymen Hussein of Iraq has been a key figure, contributing five goals in three matches, making him the leading scorer. The 27-year-old striker played a pivotal role in Iraq's impressive 2-1 victory over favorites Japan, securing their passage from Group D with three wins.
Palestine's captain, Musab Al-Battat, has been an inspiration both on and off the pitch. As an attacking right-back, he leads the tournament statistics with two assists and eight chances created. Al-Battat played a crucial role in Palestine's historic 3-0 win over Hong Kong, their first-ever victory in the tournament.
Qatar's Akram Afif, a livewire forward, is spearheading the host nation's campaign. The 2019 Asian Cup star scored two goals in Qatar's 3-0 opening win against Lebanon and continued his impact with another goal in their 1-0 victory over Tajikistan.
Mehdi Ghayedi of Iran has reclaimed the spotlight with his exceptional performance in the group stage. The 25-year-old winger's elusive running and precise finishing contributed to Iran's three wins from three matches, positioning them as strong contenders for the Asian Cup.
South Korea's Lee Kang-in, a Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder, has been a linchpin for his team. With two goals in the opening win against Bahrain and a brilliant free-kick against Malaysia, the 22-year-old has been instrumental in South Korea's journey. As they face a challenging last-16 showdown with Saudi Arabia, Lee's creative prowess adds a formidable dimension to their quest for the trophy.