Southeast Asia East Asia

Daegu Gave United City A Harsh Reality Check

A 14-goal slugfest was on full display on the second matchweek of Group I of the 2021 AFC Champions League. Both Daegu FC and Kawasaki Frontale posted 7-0 wins over their opponents, with United City FC being thrashed by Daegu at the Bunyodkor Stadium and Beijing Guoan being demolished by Kawasaki at the Lokomotiv Stadium. And while the destruction of Beijing in Tashkent is somewhat understandable due to the youthful and inexperienced nature of the Chinese squad, United City were given a harsh reality check by Daegu – there’s a long way to go for the ASEAN side to be able to match themselves with their more established East Asian peers.

Daegu FC (South Korea) 7-0 United City FC (Philippines)

United City have established themselves as one of ASEAN’s strongest sides in recent years thanks to their consistent performances in the AFC Cup, however Daegu, who finished 5th in the 2020 K-League 1 season, brought the Golden Boys down to Earth in emphatic fashion at the Bunyodkor Stadium.

Daegu opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, with Cesinha dispossessing Amin Nazari of the ball before lashing in a shot towards the bottom corner that was unable to be stopped by United City custodian Anthony Pinthus.

United City retaliated just shortly after the 30 minute mark, with captain Stephan Schrock swinging in a cross for Mike Ott to head towards Choi Yeong-eun’s goal, however the younger of the Ott brothers was unable to find his target.

Former Buriram United attacker Edgar then made it 2-0 Daegu in the 42nd minute. Having seen an earlier attempt being disallowed for offside, Edgar receives an excellent ball from Lee Keun-ho, with the latter having intercepted a pass meant for Justin Baas. Without anyone marking him, Edgar blasts a thunderous shot that went into the top right corner beyond Pinthus’ reach.

Kim Jin-hyuk then confirmed the W for Daegu right at the stroke of half-time, heading in a Cesinha free-kick into Pinthus’ goal to give Daegu a comfortable cushion coming into the break.

But despite having a healthy lead to their name, Daegu felt that what they did wasn’t enough.

The second half saw the floodgates open in full force. A foul from Schrock on Keun-ho in the 62nd minute resulted in substitute An Yong-woo curling in a sublime free-kick that made it 4-0 Daegu.

Ten minutes later Yong-woo completed his brace and made it 5-0 for his team. Keun-ho managed to head a cross towards Yong-woo, who side-footed home from close-range much to the despair of Pinthus.

The dying minutes of the game saw Daegu score twice to complete United City’s misery, with substitute Park Han-bin tapping into Pinthus’ goal in the 90th minute thanks to a sublime assist from Cesinha, before Jung Chi-in completed the rout with a penalty in the fifth minute of injury-time.

Beijing Guoan (China) 0-7 Kawasaki Frontale (Japan)

Tuesday’s second match in Tashkent saw another demolition job, this time with an altered Kawasaki side completely obliterating a youthful Beijing squad at the Lokomotiv Stadium.

The J.League 1 leaders were without the power trio of Kaoru Mitoma, Leandro Damiao, and Akihiro Ienaga, who were being rested on the bench by head coach Toru Oniki. Despite this, Kawasaki’s lineup against Beijing still oozes quality, with the likes of Yu Kobayashi, Yasuto Wakizaka, Shogo Taniguchi, Reo Hatate, Miki Yamane and Jung Sung-ryong all present.

Predictably Kawasaki took the lead in the opening ten minutes, not by just one goal, but by two! Tatsuya Hasegawa smashed home Daiya Tono’s cross with a powerful half-volley in the 7th minute, before Kento Tachibanada made it 2-0 in the 9th minute as he took advantage of Beijing’s failure to clear the ball away from danger.

Both Duan Dezhi and Li Boxi tried in vain to salvage something out of this game for Beijing and despite Kobayashi limping off with an injury in the 33rd minute, there was no looking back for Kawasaki as they scored their third in the 41st minute, this time Daiya taking advantage of a Wakizaka pass to blast home past Beijing goalkeeper Guo Quanbo.

Substitute Kei Chinen, who last season spent his days on loan at Oita Trinita, was introduced into the fray replacing Kobayashi and he made his mark in the second half, scoring a brace in a blistering second stanza that saw Kawasaki score four more goals without reply.

Chinen blasted home a penalty in the 47th minute following a foul within the area on Tachibananda, before Kazuya Yamamura heads home a ball from Wakizaka to make it 5-0 after 51 minutes.

Wakizaka himself then joined in the fun in the 56th minute, rifling a long-ranged shot from 23 meters into the top corner. Chinen then added the icing on the already massive Kawasaki cake in the 59th minute, beating Guo with a precise header that sealed Beijing’s fate.

The 7-0 win ensured Kawasaki’s spot on top of Group I, while the heavy defeat, Beijing’s heaviest in their continental history, marked a day to forget in the Uzbek capital for the youngsters in green. They must recover quickly though as Daegu awaits next for Beijing on July 2nd, while Kawasaki take on United City on the same day.