UNITED City FC (UCFC) settled to a 1-1 draw with Beijing FC in its AFC Champions League debut last Saturday night, June 26, 2021, at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
UCFC controlled the opening half with their aggressive attack to the Chinese’s goal. Spanish striker Bienvenido Marañon had a perfect opportunity to give the Philippine champions the early goal but his attempt from pointblank range went wide.
Skipper Stephan Schröck, however, finally put UCFC ahead, 1-0, after hitting the back of the net in the 28th minute with a beautiful strike from the left flank.
UCFC continued to attack Beijing FC and almost scored another goal but Marañon’s volley just in front of the goal was deflected by Beijing FC goalie Guo Quanbo.
Omid Nazari attempted a long shot but it just went wide a little bit from the near post.
Defender Liang Shaowen scored the equalizer in the 73rd from a free kick just outside the box. Liang curled in the ball to the top corner to beat UCFC goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus.
UCFC had a perfect opportunity to score the winning goal but substitute striker Mark Hartmann’s long shot attempt in the waning minutes of the match bounced off the crossbar to the relief of the Chinese club.
UCFC and Beijing FC shared a point each and is tied at second place in Group I. J1 League champion Kawasaki Frontale takes the top spot with three points after a nail-biting 3-2 win over Daegu FC.
On the other hand, Kaya FC-Iloilo suffered a 4-1 beating in the hands of Thai League 1 defending champion BG Pathum United at the Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Veteran Thai striker Teerasil Dangda drew first blood with a goal in the 23rd minute with a goal up close coming off a deflection by Cebuano goalkeeper Louie Casas. Brazilian striker Diogo Luis Santo beat Casas and two Kaya FC-Iloilo defenders to make it a 2-0 lead 12 minutes later.
Kaya FC-Iloilo defender Simone Rota was slapped with a red card after tumbling down on the leg of Santo just outside the box. Santo capitalized on it and converted a low flying free kick into the far corner in the 51st minute.
Dangda headed in the fourth goal in the 59th minute coming from a well-timed cross by Santo.
Marwin Angeles finally scored for Kaya FC-Iloilo after hitting the back of the net with a powerful strike inside the box in the 81st minute.
Kaya FC-Iloilo sits at the bottom of Group F following the loss. Kaya FC-Iloilo just came off a confidence-boosting 1-0 win over Shanghai FC in the Play-Off stage last June 23.
UCFC faces Daegu FC, while Kaya FC-Iloilo takes on Viettel FC next on June 29. (EKA)