Persib stay top in AFC Cup; Global claim first-ever triumph

Persib Bandung remain top of Group H in the AFC Cup despite playing out a 0-0 draw with Lao Toyota at the New Laos National Stadium on Wednesday.

Despite entering the clash as favourites to claim the win, the Indonesian Super League giants were unable to find a way past their stubborn opponents, who showed great resilience throughout the 90 minutes.

Nonetheless, the result keeps Persib unbeaten in the campaign with a two-point lead at the top, and they remain on course for a place in the Round of 16.

Meanwhile, Ayeyawady United were unable to fully capitalise on Persib’s slip-up as they were also held to a 0-0 draw by New Radiant at the Thuwunna Stadium to remain in second place.

Over in Group G, it was a monumental day for Philippine outfit Global as they beat nine-man Yadanarbon 4-1 to claim their maiden win in the tournament, in what was also the first match to be played at the new Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue.

Mark Hartmann got them on their way with a 16th-minute penalty after Renato Gonzalez’s freekick had been handled inside the box, although Yan Paing equalised for the visitors four minutes later.

However, the hosts reclaimed the lead through another Hartmann strike six minutes before halftime, before Misagh Bahadoran made it 3-1 in the 58th minute with a fine individual effort.

Things then got from bad to worse for the Myanmar National League outfit when Zaw Linn Tun was shown a straight red in the 70th minute, although Hartmann spurned an excellent chance to complete his hat-trick shortly after when his penalty was saved by Thiha Sithu.

But any hopes the visitors had of a comeback were ended in the 76th minute when they also had Tin Win Aung sent off for a second bookable offence, and Global went on to complete the rout six minutes from time when Gonzalez added a fourth from a freekick.

The result also means Global are back in the hunt for a place in the knockout round, after second-placed Pahang were beaten 3-1 by table-topping South China at the Mong Kok Stadium.

After Philip Chan had fired the hosts ahead in the 11th minute, Lo Kong Wai found the back of the net seven minutes into the second half to put them firmly in control of proceedings.

Jack Sealy then struck four minutes later to effectively put the result beyond doubt, although the Malaysian visitors did grab a consolation in the 62nd minute through a Dickson Nwakaeme strike.

Wednesday’s AFC Cup Results

Group G

South China 3-1 Pahang

Global 4-1 Yadanarbon

Group H

Ayeyawady United 0-0 New Radiant

Lao Toyota 0-0 Persib Bandung

JDT exact revenge on Kitchee; Persipura held in AFC Cup

Malaysia Super League giants Johor Darul Ta’zim moved top of Group F in the AFC Cup on Tuesday after recording a 2-0 win over Hong Kong’s Kitchee at the Larkin Stadium.

Luciano Figueroa got Harimau Selatan on their way when he opened the scoring in the 18th minute, before Safiq Rahim made sure of the result when he converted from the penalty spot a minute before halftime, after S. Chanturu had been brought down inside the area.

The result ensured JDT exacted revenge on their opponents after being beaten by the same scoreline in their previous encounter in Hong Kong last month, and was enough to hand them a two-point lead at the top of the table.

In Group F’s other game, Indian outfit East Bengal claimed their first win of the campaign after cruising to a 3-0 triumph over Balestier Khalsa of Singapore at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Baldeep Singh broke the deadlock for the hosts when he headed home a corner in the 22nd minute, before they doubled their advantage in the 71st minute through a Nurullah Hussein own-goal.

And four minutes later, the contest was effectively ended when Ranti Martins kept his cool to score with a close-range finish for East Bengal’s third goal of the evening.

Over in Group E, Indonesia Super League giants Persipura Jayapura’s perfect record of three straight wins came to an end as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Maldives’ Maziya at the Mandala Stadium.

Bengaluru took a step close to qualification as they moved five points clear in second place in the group with a 1-0 win over S.League champions Warriors FC, which was also enough to end their opponents’ hopes of advancing to the knockout round.

Following a goalless first half at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the winner arrived in the 76th minute when Robin Singh did well to twist his way free on the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with a perfectly-placed left-footed shot.

Tuesday’s AFC Cup Results

Group E

Persipura Jayapura 0-0 Maziya

Warriors FC 0-1 Bengaluru

Group F

East Bengal 3-0 Balestier Khalsa

Johor Darul Ta’zim 2-0 Kitchee

Pahang handed first AFC defeat; victories for Persib, Ayeyawady

Malaysia Super League outfit Pahang’s unbeaten start in the 2015 AFC Cup came to an end on Wednesday after they were beaten 1-0 by Hong Kong’s South China in Group G.

The only goal of the game at the Darulmakmur Stadium arrived after 13 minutes when Chan Siu Ki received a neat past from Philip Chan with his back to goal, before swivelling and smashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Despite the support of their home crowd, Pahang rarely threatened – apart from a couple of threatening runs by R. Gopinathan – and looked bereft of ideas in the attacking third, clearly missing the foreign strike duo of Dickson Nwakaeme and Matias Conti.

The result means South China stay top with a maximum nine points from their opening three matches, while Tok Gajah remain second but are now only a point behind Myanmar’s Yadanarbon.

After starting their campaign with two straight defeats, Yadanarbon are finally off the mark after recording a comfortable 2-0 triumph over United Football League champions Global at the Mandalarthiri Stadium.

Following a goalless first half, Djedje Maximin broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute as he floated a lovely pass out right to find Thet Naing, before racing into the box to meet his return cross and send a firm first-time shot into the back of the net.

And in injury-time, the hosts went on to wrap up the three points after Sithu Aung broke free inside the area and squared the ball for Win Htay Kyaw, who was left with the simple task of prodding the ball over the line with his knee.

Yadanarbon’s fellow Myanmar National League outfit – Ayeyawady United – also produced an impressive display on Wednesday to beat New Radiant 3-0 at the National Football Stadium and move second in Group H.

Edison Fonseca scored with a close-range header to put the visitors ahead in the 34th minute, before Riste Naumov netted twice in the final five minutes to make sure of the win for Ayeyawady.

The other match in the group saw Indonesia Super League giants Persib Bandung move two points clear at the top after claiming a hard-fought 1-0 win over Laotian side Lao Toyota.

The winner arrived in the 20th minute after terrific play from Supardi Nasir saw him skip past two men before playing a lovely through-pass into the path of Tantan, who drew out the onrushing Chanthakard Syenpongsai before squaring the ball to leave Atep with an easy tap-in at the far post.

Wednesday’s AFC Cup Results

Group G

Yadanarbon 2-0 Global

Pahang 0-1 South China

Group H

Persib Bandung 1-0 Lao Toyota

New Radiant 0-3 Ayeyawady United

Persipura continue AFC charge; JDT defeated by Kitchee

Indonesian giants Persipura Jayapura maintained their perfect record in the 2015 AFC Cup on Tuesday after recording a 2-1 win over Maziya of Maldives in Group E.

It was Mutiara Hitam who broke the deadlock at the National Football Stadium five minutes after the half-hour mark when a visionary through-pass by Robertino Pugliara picked out Boaz Solossa, who clinically fired his shot past Imran Mohamed.

Imran then made a horrible gaffe to allow the visitors to double their advantage in the 76th minute, fumbling the ball over the line in what should have been a routine save after Lancine Kone had fired a half-volley straight at him.

Maziya managed to reduce the deficit two minutes later as Assadhulla Abdulla sent an emphatic shot into the roof of the net, after Hussain Niyaz’s initial effort had come back off the post.

But despite being reduced to ten men a minute later when Ian Kabes was sent off for a second bookable offence, Persipura managed to hold out to make it three wins in a row.

The result leaves them top of the group and three points ahead of India’s Bengaluru, who climbed up to second spot following a 1-0 victory over S.League champions Warriors FC.

In a keenly-contested clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the decider arrived six minutes after the half-hour mark when Josh Walker successfully converted from the penalty spot, after opposition captain Daniel Bennett had brought down C.K. Vineeth inside the box.

Over in Group F, Malaysia Super League heavyweights Johor Darul Ta’zim were handed their first defeat of the campaign after being beaten 2-0 by Hong Kong’s Kitchee, who moved top in the process.

Kitchee opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Cheung Kin Fung’s fantastic left-wing cross to the near post found Juan Belencoso, who proceeded to send a firm header beyond Farizal Marlias’ despairing dive.

And seven minutes before the break, the hosts added a second after Lam Ka Wai pounced on a loose ball in the middle of the park and played a sublime first-time pass to release Jordi Tarres, who advanced on goal before making no mistake in slotting into the bottom corner.

The other game in the group saw Balestier Khalsa of Singapore beat India’s East Bengal 2-1 to pick up their first points in the campaign and move off the foot of the table.

Jonathan Xu put the Tigers ahead after just five minutes when he capitalised on some indecisive defending by East Bengal, and sent a 25-yard drive past an out-of-position Abhijit Mondal.

Balestier then edged further ahead in the 19th minute after Miroslav Kristic beat the offside trap to latch onto Ho Wai Loon’s superb over-the-top pass and drill a shot into the back of the net.

East Bengal did pull one back with eight minutes remaining when Dudu Omagbemi met Mohammed Rafique’s flick-on header with a sumptuous volley beyond the reach of Zaiful Nizam, although it proved to be a mere consolation as the hosts held out for their first-ever win in continental competition.

Tuesday’s AFC Cup Results

Group E

Maziya 1-2 Persipura Jayapura

Bengaluru 1-0 Warriors FC

Group F

Balestier Khalsa 2-1 East Bengal

Kitchee 2-0 Johor Darul Ta’zim

Gutsy Global deny Pahang; Persib held by Ayeyawady

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

Group G

South China 3-1 Yadanarbon

Pahang 0-0 Global

Group H

Ayeyawady United 1-1 Persib Bandung

New Radiant 2-1 Lao Toyota

JDT, Persipura maintain perfect starts to 2015 AFC Cup

Johor Darul Ta’zim recorded their second straight win in the 2015 AFC Cup on Tuesday after snatching a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Balestier Khalsa in Group F.

It initially looked as though a draw was on the cards at the Jalan Besar Stadium as a stubborn Balestier outfit were able to keep their opponents at bay throughout the 90 minutes.

The visitors did find the back of the net twice through efforts from Safee Sali and Amri Yahyah but, on both occasions, the goals were correctly disallowed for offside.

Nonetheless, in the third minute of injury-time, JDT went on to grab the win when Hariss Harun received possession from Safiq Rahim and played an incisive pass to the overlapping Asraruddin Putra Omar, who managed to squeeze a low shot past Zaiful Nizam and into the back of the net.

The result leaves Harimau Selatan top of their group on six points, two ahead of Hong Kong outfit Kitchee, who were held to a 1-1 draw by India’s East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Kitchee had taken the lead on the half-hour mark through a Juan Belencoso strike, but Ranti Martins equalised in the 74th minute to earn the hosts a share of the spoils.

Over in Group E, Persipura Jayapura of Indonesia also maintained their 100 per cent record so far this season as they defeated Indian side Bengaluru 3-1 at the Mandala Stadium.

It took the hosts just four minutes to break the deadlock through Ian Kabes’ opener, before Robertino Pugliara doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute.

Pugliara then struck again eight minutes into the second half to put the result beyond doubt, although C.K. Vineeth did grab a consolation for Bengaluru in injury-time.

The other Group E game saw S.League champions Warriors FC fall to a second straight defeat in the competition after being beaten 2-0 by Maldives’ Maziya.

Following a goalless first half at the National Football Stadium, Assadhulla Abdulla pounced on a poor clearance from Marin Vidosevic and fired past Neezam Aziz to hand the hosts the lead in the 47th minute.

And two minutes from time, the win was sealed by Pablo Rodriguez as he turned home a Hussain Niyaz cross to make it 2-0 to Maziya end any hopes the Warriors had of forcing a draw.

Tuesday’s 2015 AFC Cup Results

Group E

Persipura Jayapura 3-1 Bengaluru

Maziya 2-0 Warriors FC

Group F

Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Johor Darul Ta’zim

East Bengal 1-1 Kitchee

Darul Ta’zim boss Hodak to keep faith in local contingent

Johor Darul Ta’zim coach Bojan Hodak is not bothered by the fact that he could be forced to field a fully-local starting XI in Tuesday’s AFC Cup clash with Balestier Khalsa.

The reigning Malaysia Super League champions, who opened their AFC Cup Group F campaign two weeks ago with a 4-1 win over India’s East Bengal, resume their continental campaign on Tuesday when they take on S.League outfit Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Although Hodak’s side head into the clash arguably as favourites given the star-studded roster at his disposal, he could be forced to field an all-Malaysian line-up given a number of injury and fitness concerns over their four foreigners.

Nonetheless, with the likes of Safee Sali, Safiq Rahim and Amri Yahyah still available, the Croatian tactician remains confident his side have what it takes to deliver on the field.

“Our two foreign strikers did not travel with us and [defender] Marcos [Antonio] has a bit of an injury worry, so we’ll have to see if he’ll play tomorrow [Tuesday],” Hodak revealed.

“That leaves Hariss [Harun] as our only available foreigner but we’ll also have to take a look at his condition as we’ve played many matches over the past two weeks.

“It’s likely we’ll make changes and maybe some of the young players will get a chance but, no matter what, we’ll need to get the job done.

“So far this season, we’ve played with a mostly local team. Our foreign strikers have played about 40 per cent game time, Marcos has played 50 per cent so only Hariss has been playing from the first minute till the last.

“We have some good quality local players and whoever plays – that’s our best XI.”

Hodak was also in charge of Kelantan when they reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup back in 2012, which remains the best achievement by a Malaysian side in the competition.

However, he insists that will not add any extra pressure on how far JDT go in 2015.

“Our first ambition is to win tomorrow [Tuesday] and our second ambition is to qualify for the next round,” added the 43-year-old.

“After that, it sometimes depends on the luck of the draw.

“So far, the best any Malaysian team has done is to reach the quarter-finals so I hope we can achieve the same.

“This is not only our first year in the AFC Cup, but we also played in the AFC Champions League [qualifiers] for the first time.

“There are no high expectations or pressure. We just want to do the best that we can.”

One man who has no shortage of experience on the big stage is veteran striker Amri Yahyah, who enjoyed plenty of success of Singapore soil last year when he helped Malaysia reach the final of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, before they were ultimately beaten by Thailand.

The 34-year-old was quick to downplay suggestions that Singapore could be a happy hunting ground for me, but insists he was only focused on one thing come Tuesday evening.

“It’s totally different playing for the national team and at club level,” Amri explained.

“I just recovered from injury and we’ve come here to win.

“I’ll be doing my best to make sure we go back with the three points.”