Southeast Asia Vietnam

Sarach’s Late Goal Helped BGPU Maintain Pressure on Ulsan

BG Pathum United had Sarach Yooyen to thank on Thursday’s AFC Champions League action. Sarach’s 83rd minute winner helped the Glass Rabbits clinch a 1-0 win over a resilient Kaya FC-Iloilo side at the Leo Stadium. The former Muangthong United man’s late goal helped BGPU maintain pressure on Group F leaders Ulsan Hyundai, who thrashed Viettel FC 3-0 in Thursday’s late kick-off, setting up the stage for a crucial crunch tie between the two that will decide who will qualify automatically out of the group.

Kaya FC-Iloilo (Philippines) 0-1 BG Pathum United (Thailand)

Still deploying the young and exciting goalkeeper Zach Banzon in their starting lineup, Kaya displayed the same tenacity and determination that caused Ulsan all sorts of trouble in the Filipinos’ last match. BGPU managed to take control of much of the proceedings, however Kaya’s high defensive line caused frustration to no end throughout the Glass Rabbits’ camp.

Veteran attacker Surachat Sareepim managed to feed Diogo with a nice cross in the 4th minute, however the Brazilian’s header was denied by Simone Rota, before both Andres Tunez and Teerasil Dangda missed their mark in the 17th and 18th minute respectively.

Surachat and Diogo linked up together nicely as BGPU attempted to penetrate Kaya’s right flank, however the latter was unable to leave a mark on the Visayans’ stubborn defense.

As BGPU resumed their pressing in the second half, Kaya managed to take advantage and hit the Thai champions on the counter in the 46th minute, however Chatchai Budprom, who was barely called into action throughout the first half, did well to deny Daizo Horikoshi’s shot.

Japanese winger Horikoshi continued his threat five minutes later, however this time his shot missed the target completely.

Rota then came to Kaya’s rescue once again in the 57th minute, with the defender blocking a Sarach effort before Surachat’s attempt with the rebound struck the goalpost.

The 70th minute saw the closest that Kaya has gone to taking the lead, after substitute Javier Gayoso managed to find Kenshiro Daniels with his cross, however Chatchai was on hand to deny Kenshiro’s strike with a parry of his palms.

Eventually, the deadlock was finally broken in the 83rd minute and it was BGPU who managed to draw first blood. A Glass Rabbits corner was unable to be cleared away properly by the Kaya defense, thus allowing Sarach to smash home a thunderous drive past Zach that gave the Thai champions the lead.

Sarach’s goal ended all Kaya resistance and BGPU could finally breathe a sigh of relief once full-time comes. The hard-fought victory could prove to be vital for the Glass Rabbits should they play their cards right against Ulsan on July 11th, with a win over the defending ACL champions guaranteeing top spot of Group F and with it, a ticket to the round of 16.

Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea) 3-0 Viettel FC (Vietnam)

Defending champs Ulsan may have cruised to a 3-0 win over Vietnamese champions Viettel however the scoreline did not reflect what had actually happened at the Leo Stadium pitch. Whilst a 3-0 win might’ve been considered an easy win in any other match, Ulsan were made to work very hard for their goals as Viettel managed to frustrate them to no end, forcing the South Koreans to play out a goalless draw in the first half before a second half surge from the Horang-i ended any resistance from the Red Tornado.

Truong Tien Anh almost gave Viettel a shock lead in the 5th minute and it took Ulsan 23 minutes for them to register their first chance, with Kim Sung-joon being denied by Viettel’s reserve goalkeeper Quang The Tai, who was making his ACL debut in this match.

The Tai showed the same amount of tenacity, grit, and determination as his senior Tran Nguyen Manh between the Viettel sticks as the 24-year old shot-stopper was called into action once again in the 24th minute, denying a Lukas Hinterseer header that was already destined to be chalked off for offside.

Kim Ji-hyun became the next Ulsan player to be driven into frustration by The Tai, as he managed to evade the Viettel offside trap only for the goalkeeper to barge out of his post and deny Ji-hyun with an excellent diving block.

Ulsan finally found their breakthrough in the 48th minute, with Valeri Qazaishvili evading three Viettel defenders before beating The Tai with a shot from an acute angle.

Valeri’s opener boosted Ulsan’s confidence and they soon made it 2-0 in the 55th minute, Hinterseer greeting a Hong Chul cross with a thumping header that left The Tai utterly beaten.

Substitute Caique Lemes almost pulled one back for Viettel in the 61st minute, only for his header to miss the mark, before Ulsan threatened again through Hinterseer and Oh Se-hun. The Tai managed to thwart Hinterseer’s effort in the 75th minute, before Se-hun missed his mark with his header in the 81st minute.

There was no denying Se-hun in the 86th minute though, as he finished off a Lee Chung-yong cross with a venomous strike that blazed past The Tai and into the goal.

With both Ulsan and BGPU facing-off for a round of 16 ticket out of Group F on July 11th, Viettel will be seeking to conclude their continental campaign on a high as they take on Kaya on the same day.