Macao’s MUST Chao Pak Kei (CPK) football team faced Taipei’s Taichung Futuro FC in the first round of the AFC Cup group stage on Thursday night, but an own goal led to a 0-1 defeat for the home side.
The Taipei side knocked out Macao’s Monte Carlo in the AFC Cup play-offs last month. That match ended in a 2-1 win for Taichung Futuro FC, but they faced a tougher challenge with Macao’s Liga de Elite champions.
The game was held at Macau Olympic Stadium with an attendance of just over 1,000 local fans.
Taichung Futuro FC kicked the game off and attacked CPK from the start. In the second minute, Taichung’s Lin Che-Yu crossed the ball into the box, where CPK’s Filipe Duarte intended to chest the ball back to his keeper, but it ended up in the back of the home squad’s net instead.
CPK’s new Uzbek signing Sayidjamol Davlatjonov created a good chance in the 9th minute with a fine shot that forced a save from Taichung’s keeper Kenya Matsui.
A minute later, CPK’s Lam Ka Seng curved the ball into Vitor Almeida which nearly gave the home side an equaliser. Shortly after, the home side’s Ronaldo Carissimo made a good chipped pass to Leong Ka Hang, who missed right in front of goal.
CPK looked like the more threatening side and began to dominate possession – at one stage, all of Taichung’s players were in their own half – but were unable to get a shot on goal. Taichung finally got hold of the ball in the 34th minute and counterattacked. Away side striker Jhon Miky Estama won a freekick outside CPK’s box in the 39th minute. Kaoru Takayama took it, but it hit the side of the net.
Just before the end of the first half, CPK’s Choi Dion Carlos created a good chance for Ka Seng who was in front of the opposition keeper, but shot it straight at him instead.
CPK started the first five minutes of the second half pressuring the opposition in their box. Taichung hit back in the 51st minute, after Estama carried the ball well and passed it into the home side’s box, but CPK’s Wan Tin Iao cleared it for a corner. Estama again got the ball into the CPK box 10 minutes later but was unable to find a teammate.
CPK pounced back in the 63rd minute, with Davlatjonov crossing the ball to Carissimo, who took a shot that deflected off the opposition and flew above the crossbar. Meanwhile, a pass from Taichung’s winger to Takayama in the 71st minute left him one-on-one with CPK keeper Ho Man Fai and offered a chance to boost the final score. But the keeper won the encounter.
Taichung did not have more than four passes in the closing minutes, with CPK controlling the game. Sadly for the home fans, they were unable to equalise.
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In spite of the own goal that cost them the game, CPK’s newly appointed head coach Santi Escudero was pleased with his team’s display. “After that goal, our idea and style of playing [saw us] putting the ball in the opposition half, with good passes, overlaps,” he said at the post-match press conference. “I’m very happy with that.”
The two other teams in Group I with CPK and Taichung Futuro FC are Taipei’s Tainan City FC and Mongolia’s FC Ulaanbaatar. The latter two teams faced each other earlier on Thursday, with a 3-1 win for Ulaanbaatar.
CPK will face Tainan City FC next at the Kaohsiung National Stadium on 5 October.