Kuala Lumpur: Al Hilal`s Nassir Al Shamrani has been shortlisted for Asian player of the year despite causing controversy when he angrily spat at an opponent and sparked a melee at the AFC Champions League final.
The striker`s goal-laden tournament ended on a sour note when he spat at Western Sydney Wanderers` Matthew Spiranovic on the final whistle of their 1-0 aggregate win, prompting a shoving match.
There was no room on the shortlist for any Wanderers players, despite their achievement in becoming Australia`s first Asian champions and on their tournament debut.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said the "fiery" Al Shamrani got the nod after scoring 10 goals for Al Hilal in Asia`s club showpiece.
Joining Shamrani on the shortlist are Al Ain defender Ismail Ahmed and Qatar`s Khalfan Ibrahim, the 2006 AFC player of the year who turns out for Al Sadd.
The Wanderers` overlooked stand-outs include goalkeeper Ante Covic, who was named the AFC Champions League`s most valuable player and pulled off a string of saves in the final.
However, Covic was also involved in one of Al Hilal`s vociferous penalty appeals when he brought down Salman Al Faraj during the second leg in Riyadh.
The Saudi giants later called the final a "black spot in the history of Asian football" and cast aspersions over its "integrity and fairness", claiming six disallowed penalties over the two legs.
Meanwhile two-time women`s winner Aya Miyama of Japan was nominated for a third award, along with compatriot Nahomi Kawasumi and Australia`s Katrina Gorry.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manila on November 30.