By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
KAYA FC-Iloilo absorbed another defeat at the hands of defending Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) titleholder Ulsan Hyundai FC of Korea in their Group F rematch game on Monday in Thailand.
The Philippine club performed better than in their first game against the Korean team but still could not go over the hump, losing, 2-1.
Kaya bowed to Ulsan, 3-0, in their July 2 encounter.
Midfielder Yun Bit-Garam scored a brace for Ulsan to keep his team’s unblemished record intact at 4-0-0 with 12 points, to lead the grouping.
Kaya (0-0-4), meanwhile, lost its fourth match in as many games in the 2021 ACL and stayed in last place in Group F.
Mr. Yun opened the scoring in the match, finding the bottom of the net in the 27th minute after deflecting a shot by teammate Lukas Hinterseer that surprised Kaya goalkeeper Zach Banzon.
Ulsan would keep the 1-0 lead all the way to the half time break.
Kaya broke through early in the second half, with veteran Jovin Bedic leveling the count at 1-1 in the 47th minute.
Mr. Bedic volleyed his shot from a tight angle. It was the first goal in the tournament for Kaya, which is in its debut ACL campaign.
Ulsan regained the upper hand four minutes later, with Mr. Yun’s second goal off a pass from Oh Se-hun.
Kaya tried to recover after that and had its chances, including a curling cross from substitute Jhan-Jhan Melizza in the 85th minute, but could not complete them as it eventually slumped to defeat.
The team now focuses on its reengagement with Thai champion squad BG Pathum United, which it will face on Thursday, July 8, at 6 p.m. at the Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok.
BG Pathum (3-0-1) is second in Group F with nine points.
Meanwhile, Philippines Football League champion United City Football Club (0-1-3) lost its third straight match in the 2021 ACL, bowing to Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale, 2-0, in Group I action also on Monday in Uzbekistan.
Forwards Kei Chinen (18’) and Tatsuya Hasegawa (78’) accounted for Kawasaki’s goals in the win, which left it still unscathed at 4-0-0 with 12 points.
Despite the loss, United City broke a string of drubbings it received from its last two games where it lost by an average margin of 7.5 points.
United City next plays Beijing FC at 10 p.m. on Thursday at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent.
The two teams fought to a 1-1 draw in their first encounter on June 26.