Originally published by Manila Bulletin
United City hopes to produce a better result against Beijing Guoan Thursday night in their second Group I clash in the AFC Champions League at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The reigning Philippines Football League champions take on the Chinese Super League side at 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Manila time) with a strong chance of becoming the first Filipino club to win a match in Asia’s premier club competition.
Kaya-Iloilo, which has slowly progressed despite losing all four matches in Group F, faces BG Pathum United at the latter’s home ground Leo Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand at 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. Manila time).
Kaya almost sneaked in a point against defending champion Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea but lost 2-1 last Monday. Still, the result has boosted the confidence of the club going into the final two matches of the group stage.
A more determined United City side is expected to come out after victory was snatched away by the young Beijing side with a goal that led to a 1-1 draw in the group stage opener last June 26 at Bunyodkor Stadium.
Stephan Schrock scored United City’s first and still only goal in the ongoing competition with a fine strike to the far corner in the 28th minute, only for Beijing to answer back in the 72nd on a free kick by 19-year-old Liang Shaowen.
Schrock and Bienvenido Maranon will return for United City after each serving a one-match ban in Monday’s 2-0 loss to Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale for accumulated cards.
Maranon will see action for the first time since becoming a naturalized Filipino citizen through Republic Act 11570 which President Duterte signed last week.
Goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus will likely enter the pitch in good spirits following a solid showing behind the sticks against Kawasaki.