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ACL: Siljak fires up Dalian Shide 's ambitions
Updated: 2004-05-08 08:42

Dalian Shide striker Ermin Siljak is being hailed as a 'shot king' after his eight goals in five AFC Champions League games propelled the Chinese cracks into the quarter-finals.

Siljak tops the scoring charts in the AFC Champion League after scoring in every Group F match for Dalian, including three double strikes.

Dalian, the seven-time Chinese champions who are regarded as one of Asia's 'Super Clubs', made the last eight after picking up a maximum 15 points from five games.

They recorded home and away wins over Krung Thai Bank and Indonesia's PSM Makassar and also beat Vietnam champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai in China.

Slovenian international Siljak, who celebrates his 31st birthday on May 11, is no stranger to heading the goal standings.

He banged in nine goals during Slovenia's Euro 2004 qualifying campaign and led the standings by two from super strikers Raul, of Spain and Real Madrid, and Eidur Gudjohnsen, the Iceland and Chelsea hit man.

Siljak, who has scored a total of 14 goals in 36 international appearances for his country, has made a huge impact for Dalian in the AFC Champions League.

A natural goal scorer, Siljak is explosive in and around the box, has a fierce shot and good heading ability.

His goals have made him a firm favourite with Dalian fans who have dubbed him a 'shot king'.

"I am happy that my goals have helped Dalian to top spot (and qualification) in their group," he said. "We were missing a lot of experienced players (to international duty) in some of the games which made it difficult.

"I had the chance to join several teams in Europe last year but chose to come to Dalian. There have been a lot of positives this year and Dalian are showing that they are a real soccer giant - they can rightly be described as the 'Real Madrid' of Asia."

Siljak shouldered the striking responsibility in the absence of veteran Hao Haidong, who missed most of the group matches as he was involved with the China national side.

The Slovenian, who was badly injured playing in Euro 2000, has proven to be a potent force for Dalian who are targeting a place in the final of Asia's elite club competition.

They fell at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Al Ain last season and were losing finalists in the 1998 Asian Club Championship, the forerunner to the AFC Champions League.

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