Lee Man's Chan apologises, Losada hails Eastern fans
Buriram: Lee Man head coach Chan Hiu-ming issued an apology to the club’s supporters after his side succumbed to a 3-1 loss at the hands of fellow Hong Kong Premier League side Eastern Long Lions in their opening Group J match of the AFC Cup™ 2022 in Buriram on Friday.
Gil Martins gave Chan’s side the lead after 10 minutes but Ma Hei-wan equalised six minutes later before a brace from Spanish striker Victor Bertomeu earned Eastern a vital win in the three-team group.
Lee Man had been hopeful of progressing from the group after advancing to the knockout rounds last year, but the loss now leaves them with an uphill task to claim the one spot available in the next phase of the competition.
Young FC CSKA players impress Sobhani in debut against Altyn Asyr
Dushanbe: Head coach Amin Sobhani only had praise for his FC CSKA side - especially the younger players - for their performance against Altyn Asyr FC in their AFC Cup™ debut on Friday.
FC CSKA looked headed for defeat after Altyn Asyr took the lead in the 85th minute following Elchibek Rashidbekov’s own goal, but Abdullo Sharipov salvaged a deserved draw for the Tajik League club with his stoppage time goal in the Group E tie.
Bishkek: Tajikistan’s FC Khujand strolled to their first win against newcomers Kopetdag FC of Turkmenistan 3-1 in their AFC Cup™ 2022 Group F campaign but head coach Rustam Khodzhaev believes there is still room for improvement.
FC Khujand were two goals up inside 10 minutes when Daler Yodgorov took advantage of their opponents’ lapses in defence but the match took a sharp turn after Begench Akmamedov pulled one goal back two minutes from the hour mark.
The goal gave Kopetdag the confidence going forward, rattling the Khujand’s defensive line before substitute Tokhir Maladustov took advantage of another defensive error to put the game to bed.
Half-time pep talk does the trick for PFC Sogdiana
Dushanbe: PFC Sogdiana enjoyed a winning start to their AFC Cup™ debut by beating PFC Neftchi 2-0 on Friday, with head coach Ulugbek Bakaev’s half-time pep talk steering the Uzbek Super League club to victory.
A Luka Cermelj header in the first half added time broke the deadlock, with Marko Kolakovic heading home Sogdiana’s second goal to seal the points after Neftchi had threatened to force their way back into the tie.
Confidence took Hougang United past Phnom Penh, says Teo
Ho Chi Minh City: Hougang United head coach Clement Teo paid tribute to his players for showing remarkable spirit in their 4-3 win over Phnom Penh Crown FC in Group I of the AFC Cup™ 2022 on Friday.
The Singapore side found themselves 2-0 down after just 19 minutes but a stirring fightback saw Pedro Bortoluzo and Amy Recha drawing Hougang level with an own goal by Choum Pisa giving them the lead before Andre Moritz confirmed the points.
Cugurra: Bali supporters powered us against Kedah Darul Aman
Denpasar: Head coach Stefano Cugurra hailed the Bali United fans after his side put in a dominant display to see off Malaysia’s Kedah Darul Aman 2-0 and open their AFC Cup™ 2022 Group G campaign in style at Stadion Kapten I Wayan Dipta on Friday.
Roared on by just under 10,000 home supporters, Bali took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Kedah captain Ronald Ngah diverted Eber Bessa’s free-kick into his own net before Ilija Spasojevic and Rahmat Syamsuddin Leo both had chances to double the advantage in the second half.
But Bali were relentless and were rewarded with just under 10 minutes to play when substitute Rahmat headed Jean Befolo Mbarga’s cross into the back of the net to avoid any late nerves and ensure a crowd that had turned out despite the torrential rain went home happy.
Ho Chi Minh City: Viettel FC may have kicked off their AFC Cup™ 2022 Group I campaign with a resounding win but head coach Bae Ji Won was far from satisfied.
Viettel found themselves trailing to Young Elephants FC of Laos six minutes into the match but a Pedro Paulo hat-trick and efforts by Hoang Minh Nguyen Duc and Manh Dung Nham saw them ultimately cruise to a 5-1 win.
Denpasar: Meas Channa was full of praise for Visakha FC after the Cambodian side claimed a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Philippines’ Kaya FC-Iloilo to mark their AFC Cup™ debut in fine fashion at Stadion Kapten I Wayan Dipta on Friday.
Kaya broke the deadlock half an hour into the opening Group G encounter when Arnel Amita headed home, but Visakha levelled proceedings shortly after the interval through Ken Chansopheak.
Sa Ty’s stunning effort from distance in the 59th minute then proved decisive as the Phnom Penh club got their maiden continental campaign off to a dream start.