Withe lauds United City performance in historic AFC Champions League win, Jankovic rues Beijing FC

Originally published by THE AFC


Tashkent: United City FC coach Jason Withe hailed his players after they made history, recording the first-ever win for a Filipino club in the AFC Champions League after beating Beijing FC 3-2 on Thursday.


Jiang Wenhao and Leng Jixuan scored Beijing FC’s goals inside the first five minutes to leave the Filipino side chasing the game, but a big second-half performance from Withe’s men saw them bag three goals in the space of 21 minutes to turn the game around, with veteran Mark Hartmann finding the back of the net on two occasions, either side of AFC Cup all-time top scorer Bienvenido Marañon’s equaliser.


“It is not just three points in the competition, this is the first time a Filipino side gets three points in the AFC Champions League,” said a jubilant Withe.


“I am ecstatic for the boys; In the first 20 minutes, we did not play at all. After that, we started playing our game again, the way I expected us to play."


"In the second half, I just told the boys to be patient and that the goals would come, we just need to pass more and be more clinical in front of goal.


“I knew we would create chances, but I told the boys we would have a game on our hands. We finished as the stronger team, and I was pleased with that.”


His opposite number Zoran Jankovic was left to rue the inexperience of his Beijing FC charges even as his side dominated for large swathes of the match, but failed to hold on to their advantage.


“This is what we expected here. This is what happens when young players are pressed,” said Jankovic.


“It is difficult for them to survive on the pitch under those conditions, playing against senior players who are also foreign to them. This is why before we came here, I tried to bring one or two more players from the first team to support us, maybe a defender to keep the team’s focus up during a match.


“I am sure if we had a couple of experienced players, it would have been enough and our performances would have been much better. We were 2-0 up and lost 3-2, there is nothing much we can do.”


Beijing end their campaign against group winners Kawasaki Frontale on Sunday while United City will aim for more points against Daegu FC.


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