Group B: Jeonju MAG FC 2-9 Al Dhafra FC
Yogyakarta: United Arab Emirates’ Al Dhafra clawed back from a goal down to secure an impressive 9-2 win over Jeonju MAG FC from Korea Republic on Friday.
After witnessing Nafit Al Wasat’s 4-3 win over Thai Son Nam in the day’s earlier match, Jeonju understood that anything less than a draw meant an early exit and the Koreans eagerly set out to make an impact.
Less than two minutes into the match, Kim In-woo opened the scoring from a difficult position on the left flank with his left-footed strike into the top right corner, courtesy of Lee Young-hoon’s last-ditch pass from the box.
Despite the advantage, it was Al Dhafra who kept the pace of the game, holding the lion’s share of possession and forcing Jeonju goalkeeper Jang Si-won into making multiple saves.
However, Al Dhafra finally broke through Jeonju’s defence with Mohamed Abdulla Fadaaq driving the ball past Jang from close range in the eighth minute, before scoring his second in similar fashion from the same spot a minute later.
Jeonju suffered further set-back, as Young-hoon’s poor ball control in the 14th minute was heavily punished when Younis Ahmed Al Hammadi latched onto the loose ball and released a superb strike.
Mohamed Hassan Al Hammadi, who featured in the UAE’s national team in the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship last February, brought along his wealth of experience as he showed perfect ball control in the last two seconds of the first half, feeding an oncoming Vassoura with an easy strike to claim a three-goal lead going into the break.
In the 26th minute, Fadaaq completed his hat-trick from a wonderfully taken corner set-piece, before Sabry Jamil Hezam etched his name on the scoresheet a minute later when he surged down the court unassisted and dribbled through every Jeonju defender and Jang to make it 6-1.
Lee Young-jin’s charges showed moments of brilliance in their quick counter-attacks but their runs failed to make it through Nafit’s bastion in the form of custodian Hassan Ali Al Hantoobi.
Throughout the match, Vassoura displayed incredible footwork, and in the 33rd minute his individual skill and pinpoint pass into the box found Hezam but it was Fadaaq who made the finish.
Jeonju skipper Shin Jong-hoon reduced their deficit a minute later, but Hamdan Abdulla Al Katheeri restored Al Dhafra’s six-goal lead in the 38th minute before Vassoura ended proceedings with his second goal of the night.
The win takes Al Dhafra level with Nafit on four points, while Jeonju sit last behind Thai Son Nam.
Al Dhafra will look to seal their quarter-final berth when they go up against Thai Son Nam, and Jeonju take on Nafit in their final Group B tie on Sunday.
Al Dhafra Head Coach Luis Cilleros:
"They (Jeonju) didn't have a lot of confidence and we took advantage of it. Thai Son Nam is a very good tactical team with an experienced player Roberto Tobe Belope. They are going to be difficult for us, as they play fast, but our team is the same. The team who makes less mistakes will win the match."
Jeonju MAG FC Head Coach Lee Young-jin:
"Iraq is one of the best teams here. Today I saw a lot of problems, and there will be things that we will improve on in tomorrow's training. My team dealt well against the heavy pressures. We also had a lot of chances but didn't score, so that's another aspect to focus on."