United City FC falters in AFC Champions League 2022 opening game

United City FC started their AFC Champions League 2022 campaign on a crushing defeat, 0-1, against Jeonnam Dragons Friday at the BG Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand.


United City goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus was the busiest man for the lone Filipino club in the tournament as he wonderfully deflected the shot attempts of the Korean squad’s strikers Park In-hyeok in the 38th minute and Kosovan reinforcement Leonard Pllana in the 58th minute.


Defender Alan Robertson also made some herculean effort in the backline, thwarting an open goal opportunity by Jeonnam’s Japanese midfielder Yuhei Sato in the 70th minute.


The breakthrough goal of the match came in the 87th minute as Pllana became wide open inside the box and hit the shot from close range.


The Dragons – who qualified in the AFC Champions League for the first time since 2008 – fired 11 shots compared to United City’s two and dominated the ball possession at 64%.


Jeonnam holds solo leadership in Group G of the continental club tournament with three points. Host team BG Pathum United and Australian club Melbourne City each notched a point after their 1-1 draw in the first game.


The Jason Withe-mentored United City seeks to bounce back on Monday against Melbourne City in the double round-robin group stage.


The Eric Gottschalk-owned United City made history in last year’s AFC Champions League as one of two Filipino clubs that made it to the prestigious competition. They finished with four points in Group I after a draw and a win in their two matches against Chinese club Beijing Guoan.

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