United City FC (UCFC) will shoot for its first win in the AFC Champions League when it collides with Melbourne City FC at the BG Stadium in Thailand on Monday.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (Manila time) as the lone Filipino club seeks an upset that would boost its bid in the elimination round of the tourney.
UCFC is the only team in Pool G which has not earned a point yet, while Korean club Jeonnam Dragons FC is leading the pack with three full points from its 1-0 opening win over United City on Friday.
Head coach Jason Withe said his wards are raring to unveil an improved performance as they failed to secure a point during their first game in this year’s edition of Asia’s biggest club bootfest.
The Filipinos were left stunned as Jeonnam striker Leonard Pllana nailed a lone goal in the 87th minute and spoiled UCFC’s attempt to eke out a draw.
“We have to keep them up and get them ready for the next game,” Withe said, expecting steady display from foreign reinforcements like Amirbek Juraboev, South African JJ Robertson and Argentinian midfielder Ricky Sendra.
“I think when you lose a game in the last three or four minutes, and when you’ve played so well, it’s a difficult one to take, really. I said to the boys, we’re a passing team and we’ll keep playing that way.”
But Melbourne will be a tough nut to crack.
Coming off a championship run in the Australian Premiere League, the debuting Aussie side opened its campaign with a 1-1 draw against Thai powerhouse BG Pathum United.
The team is now expected to display a more intense performance led by Andrew Nabbout, Matthew Leckie and goalkeeper Tom Glover.