MANILA – The Philippines’ United Clark and Kaya Iloilo could not walk away with wins on Saturday night as they began their respective campaigns in the group stages of the AFC Champions League (ACL).
United Clark, however, was on track for the victory only that a free kick conversion from Beijing eventually forced a 1-1 draw in Group I action at the Milliy Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Stephan Schrock struck first for United Clark in the 28th minute with a long range shot from a tough angle at the left side of the goal.
Despite seemingly the favorite to win with the opposition bringing in most of its reserves, United Clark could not close out Beijing.
The club from the Chinese capital made the Angeles-based team pay in the 73rd minute when Liang Shaowen converted on a free kick to eventually force the stalemate.
United Clark still had some chances in the endgame, but the club could not clinch the win in the end.
The closest was an attempt from Mark Hartmann just before added time that only hit the top post.
On the other hand, in a Group F action, Kaya Iloilo faltered to BG Pathum United and dropped a 1-4 decision at the Leo Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand.
In a battle pitting first time ACL clubs, the Group F bubble host quickly went on the offensive that even forced Mike Casas to show why he is among the top Filipino goalkeepers right now with an emphatic save in the seventh minute.
BG Pathum’s game plan was rewarded in the 23rd minute when Thailand’s Teerasil Dangda scored on a follow-up after his first try was deflected only for the ball to go back to him.
Diogo Luis Santo joined Dangda on the scoreboard when he blew past the Kaya Iloilo backline and scored on a wide open 35th minute goal for the 2-0 count.
The bleeding worsened for Kaya Iloilo when Simone Rota was sent off after a hard foul on Luis Santo just as the second half commenced.
The red card led to a free kick goal from Luis Santo to make it 3-0.
Dangda finished the BG Pathum onslaught with a 59th minute goal off a Luis Santo dish.
Marwin Angeles scored the consolation goal for Kaya Iloilo in the 82nd minute, which set history as the first player to strike for a Filipino club in the ACL.
Despite the Kaya Iloilo loss, the Filipino football fans still have some reasons to smile as Azkals mainstay Kevin Ingreso played the full 90 minutes for BG Pathum at the midfielder spot.
Both Kaya Iloilo and United Clark will return to action on Tuesday night in simultaneous 10 p.m. kickoffs.
Kaya Iloilo will face V League 1 champion Viettel in Pathum Thani, while United Clark will take on K-League 1 outfit Daegu. (PNA)