Southeast Asia Vietnam

A Good Matchweek for ASEAN Clubs in the ACL

Matchweek 2 of the 2022 AFC Champions League’s East Zone group stage turned out to be an excellent outing for the tournament’s ASEAN representatives. Three teams – Thailand’s BG Pathum United, Singapore’s Lion City Sailors, and Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim – managed to stun South Korean opposition, while Hoang Anh Gia Lai managed to force Australian giants Sydney FC into a 1-1 draw.

On Monday, BGPU took on defending Korean FA Cup champions Jeonnam Dragons at the BG Stadium. Fresh off beating another Southeast Asian team in Filipino titans United City FC, K-League 2 side Jeonnam were confident that they could snatch three more points off BGPU. However, after a goalless first half, the South Koreans were stunned in the 51st minute after Worachit Kanitsribumphen managed to stir some trouble in the Dragons’ defense, enabling Pathompon Charoenrattanapirom to finish things off from several yards out to give BGPU the lead.

The Glass Rabbits then had to fend off some Jeonnam resistance before sealing up the win in the 72nd minute. A Sarach Yooyen corner was headed into the goal by Jakkapan Praisuwan, effectively punishing Jeonnam for their profligacy throughout the match and enabling BGPU to leapfrog the Dragons to the Group G summit.

Around 360 kilometers away in Buriram, another South Korean side in Daegu FC host Singaporean champions Lion City Sailors at the Khao Kradong Stadium. The men in sky blue are seeking to seal their second consecutive win that would see them assume control of Group F for the time being, however they were in for a nasty surprise.

Having learned from their opening day 4-1 defeat at the hands of Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds, LCS immediately went on the offensive with Song Ui-young striking the post in the 2nd minute.

Song, who was born in South Korea but has since received Singaporean citizenship through naturalization, threatened the Daegu goal once again in the 20th minute, before only one minute afterwards he managed to give LCS the lead, heading in a Maxime Lestienne cross over the head of Daegu keeper Choi Young-eun.

Diego Lopes then doubled LCS’ lead in the 71st minute with a neat finish that went straight to bottom left corner of the net, before a Pedro Henrique header in the 80th minute completed the drubbing for Kim Do-hoon’s Sailors.

Things gone from bad to worse for Daegu after Hong Chul was shown a straight red in the 89th minute after an awful tackle on Song, forcing Alexandre Gama’s men to finish the match with 10 men.

Meanwhile, at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor Bahru, 2-time ACL champions Ulsan Hyundai took on JDT, who acted as the away team for Monday’s clash. The Southern Tigers have taken early initiative in Group I with a 5-0 mauling of Guangzhou FC and they showed more of the same on Monday, with Fernando Forestieri spectacularly opening the scoring for JDT in the 3rd minute.

Um Won-sang drew things level in the 52nd minute with a devastating close-ranged finish past JDT’s stand-in goalie Haziq Nadzli, with the youngster replacing an injured Farizal Marlias in the Southern Tigers’ ACL campaign.

However, Ulsan hearts were broken in the 80th minute after JDT had regained their lead, and who else but Bergson who managed to find the back of the net, taking advantage of a Safawi Rasid assist to beat Jo Hyeon-woo in the Horang-i goal.

Monday’s other ACL matches saw Chinese sides Shandong Taishan and Guangzhou being dismantled by Japanese opposition, with the former losing 8-0 to Kawasaki Frontale and the latter succumbing to a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Urawa. Australian champions Melbourne City were also victorious on Monday, beating United City 3-0 thanks to a brace from Marco Tillo.

On Tuesday, Vietnamese giants HAGL managed to show another valiant display at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, with the Mountain Men going 1-0 up in their Group H clash with Sydney thanks to a 26th minute screamer from Vu Van Thanh. However, the Sky Blues managed to pull one back in the 59th minute thanks to an effort from Trent Buhagiar, and the scoreline remained that way until full-time.

Tuesday’s other matches saw Vissel Kobe edge out Kitchee SC 2-1 to record only their second win in all competitions this season, while Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors managed to squeak past Yokohama F. Marinos with a 1-0 win.

Due to Shanghai Port’s withdrawal from the ACL following the city-wide lockdown of Shanghai due to a COVID-19 outbreak there, Thailand’s Leo Chiangrai United could afford to have the entire matchweek off.