MANILA – Kaya Iloilo managed to hold its ground against defending AFC Champions League (ACL) champion Ulsan Hyundai even as the latter scored a record-setting 3-0 win at the Leo Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand on Friday night.
The victory in the Group F action set a new ACL record for the longest winning streak as Ulsan prevailed for the 12th straight time dating back to the previous seasons, but Kaya Iloilo put up a gallant stand.
Oh Se-hun struck first for Ulsan after Valeri Qazaishvili found him open for the 12th-minute goal.
Kaya Iloilo, however, slowed Ulsan down on offense midway through the first half and even looked poised to enter halftime just 0-1 down.
A Marwin Angeles foul on Kim Ji-hyeon turned out to be a huge blunder for Kaya Iloilo as it set up Hong Chul’s free kick that Oh converted into a header goal in the 40th minute.
Angeles had a chance to redeem himself after taking the ball away from Kim, but it ended up in Qazaishvili’s foot and he struck it past Mike Casas to make it 3-0 in the 48th minute.
Kenshiro Daniels had the greatest crack at a Kaya Iloilo goal as he successfully evaded Ulsan’s defense leaving only Jo Hyeon-woo to beat, but Jo showed nerves of steel by saving Daniel’s one-on-one attempt.
Oh had a chance to complete a hat trick in the 66th minute but he struck the ball too strong in his close-range attempt that it hit the top crossbar before sailing out of bounds.
Both clubs only had a few chances at goal since then.
While Kaya Iloilo in a way kept its match against Ulsan close, the same cannot be said on United Clark as for the second straight time, the reigning Philippines Football League champion was sent home crashing.
Later in the night at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, United Clark suffered an even worse beating than its 0-7 defeat to Daegu as Kawasaki Frontale scored an 8-0 rout against the Angeles-based club.
However, United Clark seemed on track of at least holding the fort against Kawasaki, keeping the reigning J-League titleholder from scoring in the first 30 minutes of the match pitting domestic league champs.
Kawasaki finally got one in the 33rd minute when Kaoru Mitoma headed a goal off a corner kick.
Ryota Oshima, meanwhile, struck a rocket from way out to make it 2-0 for the Japanese side.
The breakaway began in the 50th minute when Leandro Damiao scored to stretch the lead to three.
Kento Tachibanada then began his quest for a hat trick with a 56th-minute attack to make it 4-0.
He would score again in the 65th and 70th minutes to complete the three-goal showing.
Mitoma then completed his brace in the 82nd minute before Yasuto Wakizaka put the exclamation point with a stoppage-time goal.
With Daegu only beating Beijing, 5-0, at the nearby Milliy Stadium in simultaneous action, United Clark crashed to the bottom of Group I on overall goal difference at the end of the first round of the group stages.
Kawasaki, on the other hand, swept the first round with the full nine points anchored on 18 made goals in total.
Rematches of both fixtures will take place on Monday night to start the second round. (PNA)