Goal.com's Asian Player & Team of the Month for November

Goal.com's newest feature highlights the monthly stars from the continent, and it's been a big month with World Cup qualifiers, the ACL final, SEA Games plus much domestic action
Welcome to Goal.com's new regular feature: Goal.com Asian Player of the Month.

Each month our worldwide team of editors will put forward a selected candidate, as chosen by Goal.com International, who deserves recognition for his performances over the course of the month.

Goal.com will also select an Asian Team of the Month as we look to provide more insight on football throughout the continent.

Asian Player of the Month | SHINJI KAGAWA


Club:
Borussia Dortmund
Age:
22
Role:
Attacking midfielder

It wasn't long ago that Kagawa was talking about trying to rediscover his best form after a lull in his performances, but during November he found what he'd been looking for.

Indeed, the 22-year-old former Cerezo Osaka man scored twice for his club Borussia Dortmund, including one in the Champions League at Arsenal, while also providing three assists.
Kagawa also chimed in during Japan's 4-0 rout of Tajikistan with an assist before earning a rest in the following fixture in North Korea.

Kagawa's return to form has also coincided with Dortmund's resurgence up the Bundesliga table where they moved into top spot following huge wins over title rivals Bayern Munich and Schalke. To boot, Kagawa's Japan also sealed their spot in the fourth round of 2014 World Cup qualifying during November.

Honourable Mentions

Roda Antar - Lebanon
Lebanon were the surprise story of this month's 2014 World Cup qualifiers and the Cedars skipper was a key part of their stunning success, which included victories over Kuwait and South Korea. Antar, 31, offered a touch of quality in Lebanon's midfield in both games, whilst adding an attacking touch too. His performances won him a Goal.com Player of the Week award, too.

Baddrol Bakhtiar
- Malaysia Under-23 National Team

The Malaysia U-23 skipper was a key player for his side during their 2011 South-East Asia Games triumph on Indonesian soil. Bakhtiar, who ran the show in midfield, stepped up when his team struggled in attack and eventually he turned out to be his side's topscorer with three strikes, which is some feat for a playmaker. The 23-year-old also stepped up to the spot under pressure and netted his side's decisive penalty in the shootout in the final to seal his nation's victory, after Ferdinand Sinaga's miss for Indonesia.

Mohammed Saqr - Al Sadd
The veteran goalkeeper is another who earned a Goal.com Player of the Week award during November, following his man-of-the-match display in the AFC Champions League final which Al Sadd won on penalties after he made two stunning saves in the shootout. Those vital saves came after a superb 120 minutes where he frustrated Jeonbuk Motors time and time again.

Nashat Akram - Lekhwiya & Iraq
The 27-year-old former FC Twente playmaker enjoyed a fine month with both club and country, making a huge contribution as Iraq clinched progress to the fourth round of 2014 World Cup qualifying. Akram's finest moments came in Iraq's 3-1 win in Jordan, where he hit a fine double including a neat volley. Coach Zico has given Akram a key role in the 2007 Asian champions' side and he's beginning to repay his faith. Meanwhile, Akram club Lekhwiya have had a shaky month but remain top in Qatar with the Iraqi their shining light.

Asian Team of the Month | LEBANON

As previously discussed, November was an incredible month for the Lebanese national team following two stunning victories over Kuwait and South Korea, which all but sent them into the fourth and final round of World Cup qualifying for the first time ever in the nation's history.

The Cedars, who were belted 6-0 in their opening third round game against South Korea, have had a stunning campaign under Theo Bucker but during the November international break they hit their stride. Bucker's leadership gave the team spirit and belief, but also energy and his players delivered.

The success of Lebanon, ranked 111th in the world, has also been a huge boost to the nation with the 2-1 victory over Korea in Beirut celebrated massively throughout the country with Bucker stating: "Football is a mighty power ... it can bring freedom to a country."

Honourable Mentions

Al Sadd (Qatar)

Jorge Fossati's side became Asian champions early in the month after a pulsating final in South Korea against Jeonbuk Motors which ended 2-2 after 120 minutes, before the Qataris won on penalties with the aforementioned Saqr the hero. Al Sadd's triumph ended East Asia's five-year domination of the trophy, along with their own 22-year-wait between continent crowns. It was a triumph against all odds, as Jeonbuk were the clear favourites against a side who had come through the play-offs to even reach the AFC Champions League group stage.

Malaysia Under-23 National Team

They were largely unfancied prior to the SEA Games campaign; touted as inferior to Thailand and Indonesia but the Young Tigers impressed immensely by retaining the gold medal they won in 2009. Better still, they beat host nation Indonesia twice in hostile conditions. Ong Kim Swee's boys stuck to their task and did their job well in the final, showing maturity and quality.

Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea)

The two-time Korean champions have had a sensational November, having only scraped into the play-offs after finishing sixth before going on a dream run to the final of the K-League Championship following away victories over domestic giants Suwon Bluewings, FC Seoul and Pohang Steelers. Kim Ho-Gon's side, who won the K-League Cup earlier this year, will meet regular season champions Jeonbuk Motors in the decider and perhaps their dream run can continue.

Do you agree with Goal.com's Asian Player and Team of the Month awards for November and if not, who do you think deserves the honour...


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