By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
PHILIPPINE clubs United City Football Club and Kaya FC-Iloilo FC were routed in their respective group matches at the 2021 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) on Tuesday night.
Reigning local professional league champion United City was dominated by Korea’s Daegu FC, 7-0, in Group I in Uzbekistan while Kaya fell to Vietnam’s Viettel FC, 5-0, in Group F in Thailand.
Looking to bounce back after a loss in its opening game in the ACL, Daegu FC was unrelenting against United City.
The Korean club opened the scoring in the 23rd minute at Bunyodkor Stadium with a goal from Cesinha. It doubled its lead 19 minutes later as Edgar Silva scored past United City keeper Anthony Pinthus.
Just when everybody thought Daego FC was done scoring, it managed to score a late goal (Kim Jin-hyuk) before the half time break horn sounded to make it a commanding 3-0 lead at the break.
Daegu FC continued to test the defense of United FC in the second half.
Back-to-back goals by An Yong-Woo in the 62nd and 72nd minute put the game out of reach of the Filipino champion club.
The remaining goals of Daegu FC were scored by Park Han-Bin (90’) and Jung Chi-In (95’).
With the win, Daegu FC moved to second spot in Group I with three points on a one-win, one-loss card.
United City (0-1-1), meanwhile, dropped to last place with a point to show for.
Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale (2-0-0) leads the grouping with six points, while China’s Beijing FC (0-1-1) is currently at third.
United City returns to action on July 2 against Kawasaki Frontale.
Meanwhile, Kaya also found the going tough in its match against Viettel FC.
It did not take long for the Vietnam side to go on top, scoring twice inside the first seven minutes of the contest.
Nguyen Hoang Duc scored in the second minute before Caique followed suit five minutes later to make it a 2-0 game for their team. It was a lead they would take all the way to the halfway point of the match.
Viettel added to the woes of Kaya immediately at the onset of the second half, with Bui Tien Dung I at the scoring end in the 49th minute.
It completed its rout with a second goal from Caique in the 61st minute and Vu Minh Tuan in the 65th minute mark.
“It was not what we were looking for, we’re pretty disappointed with the start of both halves. We can’t give a quality side like Viettel the start we did,” said Kaya coach Graham Harvey after the game. “This level of football is a steep learning curve for us. We said when we qualified for the group stage that we’re going to have these experiences and learn from them.”
The loss was the second straight for Kaya (0-0-2) in the 2021 ACL, leaving it the lone team in Group F without a point to show for to date in the tournament.
Defending ACL champion Ulsan Hyundai (2-0-0) of Korea leads the grouping with six points, followed by Viettel (1-0-1) with three points and BG Pathum United (1-0-1) of Thailand with three points as well.
Kaya next plays Ulsan Hyundai on Friday.
In the AFC Champions League, the top teams in each of the groupings advance to the Round of 16 with the second-place clubs qualifying if they end up as among the best runner-up teams.