While the football season has come to an end across most of Asia, there were as always a number of fantastic performances across the continent! In our last Asia XI of the season, Football Tribe highlights the stars of Asia’s domestic leagues who helped to make an unforgettable November for fans of the beautiful game.
Goalkeeper - Gu Sung-Yun (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)
The 23-year-old followed up on his national team selection in October with a terrific November for Consadole, earning two clean sheets in three matches and helping the northern side stay in the J1 for a second straight year - their first time accomplishing that since 2001. Gu's big saves in the second half of the season were a key factor in the club's improved form on both sides of the ball.
Defender - Choi Chul-soon (Jeonbuk Motors)
Choi put in solid performances for club and country in November, closing out the K League Classic campaign by being named the country's top right back. He also assisted Son Heung-min's goal against Serbia, drawing praise for his hard work and active overlapping up the side.
Defender - Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis)
Persepolis did not concede a single goal in four November matches and Hosseini's performances were a big reason for that. The defensive leader was crucial in their win against league rivals Pars-e-Jonoubi Jam.
Defender - Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Motors)
After an unfulfilling 2.5 seasons with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, Kim found his groove this season as a member of the K League Classic champions. In addition to being named the league's best left back of the season, the 25-year-old put in a solid performance for South Korea against Colombia, giving fans hope that the Taeguk Warriors' defense could improve ahead of next year's FIFA World Cup.
Attacking Midfielder - Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale)
After more than a decade at the club, the 37-year-old veteran is finally a J.League champion. Nakamura's leadership was indispensable in helping Frontale recover from their disappointing Levain Cup final loss to win two key J1 matches in November, setting them up for a dramatic title win on the final day of the campaign.
Central Midfielder - Son Jun-ho (Pohang Steelers)
The box-to-box midfielder recorded four assists in November as Pohang rolled to 4-3 and 4-0 wins over Sangju Sangmu and Gwangju FC respectively. In addition to setting up the most goals in the K League Classic this season, Son was well-known by fans and opponents alike for his possession and passing skills.
Central Midfielder - Server Djeparov (Esteghlal)
While Esteghlal have struggled so far this season, the former Asian player of the year has become a source of hope. The 35-year-old Djeparov didn't find the back of the net for the Tehranian side in November but contributed to a 2-2-0 record with his superb vision and brilliant passes.
Attacking Midfielder - Vander Luiz (Chiangrai United)
Dangerous whenever the ball is at his feet, the Brazilian helped Chiangrai United to their first-ever trophy by scoring twice against Bangkok United in the FA Cup final.
Forward - Nguyen Anh Duc (Becamex Binh Duong)
The 32-year-old was a bright spot for a Binh Duong side that had little to cheer about this season. With his brilliant positioning and clever finishing, Nguyen scored five goals in three November matches, including a hat-trick on the final day, to finish as the V-League's top scorer.
Forward - Jay Bothroyd (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)
Few J.League strikers ended the season in better form than the Englishman, who scored an astounding eight goals in the last six matches to help Consadole stay in the J1.
Three of those goals came in November, including the last of his three braces this season in a decisive 2-0 win at Shimizu S-Pulse that clinched a finish above the drop zone.
Forward - Obafemi Martins (Shanghai Shenhua)
Despite an 11th-place finish in the Chinese Super League, Shanghai Shenhua fans have plenty to smile about after capturing the FA Cup and claiming their first major trophy since 2003.
The man behind the victory was former Inter, Newcastle United, and Seattle Sounders striker Martins, who struck twice over the two-legged final. His second goal, a flawless curl into the top corner, was just enough to give Shenhua a victory over heavily-favored rivals Shanghai SIPG on away goals.