Philippine outfit Global produced a spirited display on Wednesday to hold Malaysia Super League giants Pahang to a 0-0 draw in AFC Cup Group G.
Global, who were hammered 6-1 by South China in their competition debut two weeks ago, were expected by many to be overrun by Tok Gajah at the Darulmakmur Stadium.
But in what turned out to be an indomitable performance from Leigh Manson’s charges, they were able to keep the hosts at bay for throughout the 90 minutes, with goalkeeper Jun Badelic and defenders Amani Aguinaldo and Daisuke Sato all proving to be unbeatable at the back.
The visitors did have their chances as well as Mark Hartmann and Richard Talaroc both gave Pahang a real scare, although the Malaysian side only had themselves to blame as they missed a host of gilt-edged opportunites – R. Gopinathan the biggest culprit on the night.
Nonetheless, Global’s evening was slightly tarnished in injury-time when Aguinaldo was sent off for a second bookable offence, although it was rather harsh given he appeared to not have heard the whistle when he booted the ball away after a freekick had been awarded.
Elsewhere in Group G, Myanmar’s Yadanarbon are still looking for their first points of the campaign after being beaten 3-1 by Hong Kong side South China, who stayed top of the table with a maximum six points from two matches.
South China took the lead at the Mong Kok Stadium after 13 minutes when a deft flick from Daniel McBreen released Lo Kong Wai, who raced through down the left before clinically placing his shot in off the post.
Six minutes later, it was 2-0 after Yadanarbon keeper Thiha Sithu – under no pressure – punched the ball straight out to Bojan Malisic, whose first-time volley back into the box was met by Mahama Awal with a neat finish from five yards out.
The contest was then effectively over eight minutes before the break after McBreen had been left completely unmarked inside the box, and was able to meet Chan Siu Ki’s corner with an easy close-range header into the back of the net.
To their credit, the visitors refused to give in without a fight and did grab a consolation in the 89th minute; Zaw Lin Tun reacting quickest to Yan Paing’s flick-on header and nodding the ball past Cristian Mora.
Over in Group H, Indonesia Super League giants Persib Bandung were unable to make it two wins in a row after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ayeyawady United of Myanmar at the Thuwunna Stadium.
Persib were initially on track for victory after edging ahead on the stroke of halftime when Tantan latched onto Muhammad Ridwan’s cut-back and held off a challenge before laying it off to Atep Rizal, who stayed cool to steady himself before smashing a half-volley into the roof of the net.
However, the visitors went on to force the draw in the 58th minute when Edison Fonseca pounced on a poor pass by Hariono inside his own half and headed straight for goal, before unleashing a 30-yard piledriver that nicked off Vladimir Vujovic’s back and made its way into the far corner.
The other Group H match saw Laotian club Lao Toyota relinquish a lead to be defeated 2-1 by New Radiant of Maldives at the National Football Stadium.
Although the visitors had went in front through Maitee’s 37th-minute opener, New Radiant equalised eight minutes after the hour mark through a strike from Nigerian midfielder Patrick Okoro.
And with two minutes remaining, the hosts were handed the perfect opportunity to claim maximum points after being awarded a penalty – paving the way for Ashad Ali to slot home the winner.
Wednesday’s AFC Cup Results
South China 3-1 Yadanarbon
Pahang 0-0 Global
Ayeyawady United 1-1 Persib Bandung
New Radiant 2-1 Lao Toyota